In the deep hive body
we leave next winter’s food,
replacing frames examined
for dark, sunken wax that indicates
foul brood. We’re watching
for the queen—the colony’s been sluggish.
If she dies, worker bees will nurse
chosen larvae on royal jelly,
until, emerging, they squeak—
the piping of the virgin queens—
to search each other out,
then battle to the death:
the hive an ancient
model of harsh dynasties.
— From Bee-keeper Speech by Sue Chenette