The royal beekeeper takes on the task
after the monarch has passed—donning
his white suit, the hat and veil, traveling
to each hive to tie black bows on the towering
palaces, home to tens of thousands of bees,
informing them their queen has died—
not the winged one in their hive,
but the woman they have never met.
He urges the bees to be good to the new ruler,
to remain in the hive, to continue their work,
to produce honey until death claims them.
He whispers to them the traditional words,
“The mistress is dead, but don’t you go.
Your new master will be a good master to you,”
offering a prayer, trusting that word will be passed
from bee to bee to bee, a million times over.
for John Chappie, royal beekeeper