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No one knows why worker bees leave when they leave
there’s plenty of food, an intact hive, a queen, larvae, nurses for the larvae but worker bee says: you can’t love something if you aren’t afraid to lose it. I was born holding a knife and as soon as I use it, I’ll die. I’ve loved you so much I’ve lost myself in every lifetime but this one
And leaving first is a form of loss

I hope I die before anyone I love
no one answers when you need them to, no one can give you what you need
Imagine that worker’s voice, her thorax full of strange ideas, her abdomen, mandibles, parasites, hind legs, middle legs, forelegs, tongue, the insidious glimmer in her compound eyes
Imagine the moment when the hive disappears over her horizon.

everyone wants to be the star but no one wants the emptiness of space

Her gossamer wings hum like—I have left you, my queen, I have left you, my children, my food, my home, my name is leaving and my name is gone
I hope I die before anyone I love
I stepped out for cigarettes and I stepped out for milk and I stepped out for stepping out and
I hope I die before anyone I love

And bees have an astounding sense of direction—an internal compass keeps pointing due hive all roads lead to home, and every flower smells the song of memory but once you choose to go the choice gets easier, maybe the magnetic pull weakens with space and time
I hope I die before anyone I love

The queen dies, then. She starves to death in her empty mansion, in the home she made and populated, decorated with countless children. The larvae starve. The nurses starve
Not even bees can eat hope, no matter how saccharine, no matter how delicious

then there’s the hive, collapsed in the metaphorical sense, structurally sound in the physical one and the memory of a leaving song and a bunch of dead bees

It’s idiopathic, poorly studied, widely misunderstood
no one has learned the leaving song
I hope I die before anyone I love
I hope I die before anyone I love



Leah Komar (Homo sapiens domestica) is a writer and editor endemic to the northeastern United States. It is a highly anxious, multilingual herbivore most notable for its interest in animal behavior and language acquisition. Although shy, it is extremely friendly and can be found on Bluesky @ImAllTeeth.
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