The temperature drops off
suddenly one day in the fall and it’s clear
winter is shouldering in.
The worker bees feel antsy and irritated
they’ve got work to do with urgency
and the drones–
The drones are not helping.
The drones stand around
telling the workers how to do their jobs.
They chug nectar and munch pollen,
they tell the ladies that they’d better
get to work if they’re to have stores
enough for the winter;
they get in the way with their big
clumsy fat-cat bodies,
they have no delicacy
they have no stingers
no pollen buckets
they don’t know the dances
the hexagon is beyond them
they have no nursing skills and
they ignore the queen
who is the neediest baby.
The toughest workers stationed outside
defend the hive when skunks
put their paws in the door
and the drones sit back and criticize.
They brag about sexual conquests
with neighboring queens.
But the workers know that if the stories
Were true, the braggarts would be dead.
They also know that the drones
are finicky: everything must be
just right, they have to be in the mood
it has to be 70 degrees and fair
and not too breezy and the queens
have to tell them how strong they are
how useful and competent.
They are liars and mooches and winter
is getting angry at the hive door and so–
and so, the workers turn
on the drones and they revolt.
They swarm on them, they sting them
they drag their dead weight
to the door and they throw them out,
out into the cold to fend
as best they can, knowing
that they can’t–they can’t fend
and they will die. It all happens
in one day, on that one day
when the drones run out of luck
and the workers have had enough.
Sara Eddy is a writing instructor at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her work has recently appeared in Postcard Poems and Prose, Surreal Poetics, and Panoply, and is forthcoming in Damfino and in Terrapin Press’ Donut Anthology. She can be found on Instagram at beequeen66 and on Twitter at @seddy66