Sally Wen Mao

Searching for the Queen Bee

Outlast, outgrow, outshine
all midnight, all opposition.
For sweat & fists don’t silence

you, but the gridded landscape
does. Go ahead, run to the garden
where childhood sinks inside

the lake’s lips. Wash your face,
its dark adult spot. Believe
in the dawn behind the giant

tree, the light’s torn dress,
redress. If you’re tired
of fighting, how do you find

the Queen? She’s all appetite
and aplomb in runny regalia,
so moist you latch on. Life

is not dear unless coveted
things are claimed: the joy
of exploding queens crackling

in jaw, tougher than goat
and sweet thorns. Honey sticks
to horse manes, rat hide, pigeons

electrocuted on fences,
damp newspapers, headlines
explaining cruelty, cruelty.

Honey drips from glaciers.
May you never sleep, badger:
ever-droning, ever-hunting.