The bee box arrives, its furious Latin, or Greek: menarche & all that. But
you know what this is for, this is not for
you. Nubility comes later, maybe. You are neither predictable nor consistent
in your intervals, your duration, your pain.
Less celebrated, the hive depends
on non-fertile female worker bees. We clean & build, forage
& gather, guard. We
are often short-lived, our bodies
collect at the mouth of hives, we sacrificial females, we noble
honey-drudges. Few songs sung
for this thousand-strong caste.
For the woman who doesn’t mother, others caution: you will regret
your choice. For the woman who mothers, no one asks: do you regret
your choice? But some do – there is research on regretting motherhood,
but it is the great taboo. The ecologist said, “The ability to birth
fertilized eggs – to mate – is called a ‘privilege.’” (That’s just how
she put it.) The way we word platitudes: Children are a joy; Children
are a blessing, encode non-choice into our Cultural DNA.
Since stopping my fallopian tubes with nickel and overgrowth flesh, I’ve become
predictable & consistent in interval, duration, pain. I exceed my own estimation
of absorptive materials, the ticking of the clock. I throw clots, accumulated
endometrium. (Brood cells uncleaned). The women I know
are long past this – menopausal, or hysterectomied. The aged queens ask
why I save this equipment, this empty room, this deflated balloon.
As if it only values with use, as if it doesn’t reside inside me, isn’t me.
As if I haven’t stored things there: an armoire; two tube TV’s – their elegant curved backs,
outdated, but still working; some clothes I may fit into again.
The nuptial flight marks the position of the hive, days after the Queen
emerges from her cell; other flights last only minutes, long enough
to collect what she needs of drones, before returning to keep the factory
humming. Sometimes she cannot or will not
fly; sometimes she leaves. A hive without a proper queen is doomed.