THE LAST QUEEN
My sisters, deep in our cells, are still feeding me.
But I know I will be their last queen.
The succession dies with me.
My workers toil to bring home supplies
but they hum of too few flowers.
They suck on litter, drops of sweetness
that ooze from shiny objects left on the ground.
They fly far. Not all return. The air is poisoned.
Our drones sicken and die on the wing.
Some of my sisters have died in their compartments
become dry as ash. Some never grew enough
to take part in our great enterprise.
Not enough honey now to feed us all.
Why must they place their hope in me?
How can I tell them what I know to be true?
ANGELA TOPPING is the author of eight full collections of poetry and four pamphlets. Her work has appeared widely both in print and online, in a broad range of journals, including Poetry Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, InterlitQ, The North, Stand, Magma, The Lake and The Dark Horse. She was a writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library, and is regularly invited back to participate in their festivals. She has been guest poet at a good number of venues and festivals, and her work has featured on BBC Radio’s Poetry Please.