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Hive

November 19, 2007 1 comment

The queen is in her cell hanging upside down feeding on royal jelly taken from the heads of young workers who are preparing to swarm, but meanwhile gather nectar from flowers that grow on the girl.

She is lying in the field naked on her back, blossoms growing from her bosom.

The nectar they find there is the sweetest they have ever known, the workers dizzy with its confection.

She stays very still while the bees hover and sweep, sipping from golden cups.

They stagger-fly back to the hive to care for the brood in the broodcomb, their honey-stomachs gurgling already at the thought of the impending regurgitation and re-ingestion and re-regurgitation.

The virgin queen stirs, unaware another virgin queen waits on the other side, and another, each a rival.

The girl on her back in the field is virginal in the green dress of grasses that partly conceal her. She thinks nothing of the bees but looks beyond them to the sky which seems to her a floor upon which bees are dancing.

The queens chew doors into the caps of their cells and emerge like light.

The larvae sleep selflessly in the comb. The drones take the old queen to bed. The new queen kills her rivals.

Bees comb the girl’s hair with their wings until the swarm cracks the hive, and they fly off into beginning.

by Cati Porter

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