Oyster Boy Review 11  
  April 1999
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» Levee 67


The Ballad of the Bee, or Queen Bee's Lament

Andrea Selch

Listen my liege, my owner, my alpha-king—

You have known me most to quail and quaver,
(I submit, I am not the pitbull
you bargained for, but quite the opposite:
Only in dreams do I quiver bravely,
queering a bunny or bagging a quail)

now, however, I have a big quarrel.
The bone is this: that bi-ped you've been
biting faces and rubbing bellies with—
boy is she quirky!  So queasy and querulous,
and worst of all, what's her beef with the beasts?
She won't eat anything that once breathed,
yet she won't properly greet me:
Instead of standing still so I might sniff her butt
or lick her limbs, I must sit quietly
while she slings a soy-snack in my general direction?

Oh, I should've known, that first night you vacuumed
then banished me to the back room, left my bowl
filled with backwash, as if I'd been bad.
I didn't quibble though, thinking
At least it's not a bath!
But there, I barked too soon:
Now, for our quality time (the questing of the ball)
you have substituted a weekly bath and brushing—
quelle horreur!
Now, instead of calling Queen Bee,
you disparage my dander, admonish, "Be Clean!"

What if once I were to bite quickly
(quite by accident of course) her hand
as yet another beef-free biscuit
was bequeathed to me?
Ah the bloodbath, the bruising!

But quit this belly-aching,
I tell myself.  It doesn't befit a bitch;
behave, be loyal to the last.

And so, I bay:
Once upon a time, you called me Queenie
and bantered and babytalked to me,
and we walked quotidianly, and on holidays
I quaffed beef broth from a quality bowl.
Now I am "the Bee," second banana,
on the back burner, baroness—
But still unbudging: quiescent
in my basket, next to your queensize bed.