by Neetha Kunaratnam

When the engineer pins
the bee’s wing down
to a blueprint,
delves and rips
into its secrets,

and Faust-like
trades knowledge
of the light-stitched,
pluck-tough surface

to a City conglomerate
raking it in from
an underground cache
of fighting machines,

When the hives lie abandoned,
apiarists now only landlords
of rotten honeycomb,

the poignant pleas
lost in the knowledge
that the mighty transmitter
deflected them far off course,

When the orchards’ crab
and scrumpy lie barren,
with white nausea of pollen,

when the sprays we concoct
try to mate with the blossom,

and the high street bosses regret
the shortage of honey and coxes,
squashes and almonds;

When the queen abdicates her
brood chamber, sick of
the constant flux and bummed

by her poor ratings, flees
to hang in a hollow tree,
her solitude a slow dying,

When the smoke of
pine needles and hessian
no longer waylays them

from their path
as if they’ve homed in
unerringly on some God given

(Do any of us know where they’re headed?)