This one goes out to Michelle Castleberry, and is best understood as a response to her fabulous poem, “The Gift.”


The night you stole the hives,

We had gone out—

A thousand of us guys—

One last rollick on the town

Before sampling the delights of our virgin queen.


The girls had fed us ambrosia for days

As they gazed into our compound eyes

And exclaimed at the size of our mandibles.


The queen could hardly wait, they sighed,

Assuring us that every man would have his turn

At ecstasy.


That night, mustered just beyond the apiary,

We boasted how we’d dive like comets

Over her—each one of us was sure

He’d be the first and best to rock her world.


But flying home, a little drunk,

We found the bee house carted off,

The homestead vanished,

Our drowsy queen

An adolescent dream.


And now there’s not a wing

To prove we’ve not imagined our own race—

No buzz in rhododendrons, no

Dancing grace notes on the wind,

Not one sweet treasure left on earth.


Unless it’s true the night you

Spanned the globe and made off

With a million honeyed palaces

You found some best-forgotten mercy

And left a scent the drones could follow.


It’s said that a year’s walk from the horizon

Where lone and level sands stretch far away

A solitary storehouse thrums with bees.


And so we wander,

Stingerless and hungry

For the sight of her—

A thousand consorts, who sweep the barren land

And mourn the kings we might have been.


© Katherine Grace Bond



Postcard Poetry Project: Drones