While Looking Up at a Working Wasp, I Trip

While Looking Up at a Working Wasp, I Trip

How do these things I once barely acknowledged
now snare toes or twist ankles, causing me to stumble,

spill coffee and curse. Steps, rocks, pavement, curbs.
Door sills. No matter which, without provocation.

Solitary wasps mate not in flight but in the vicinity
of their nesting area. Three years ago a female

violated our unspoken agreement of mutual
existence; my arm purpled and ballooned

to twice its normal size, and I demolished her nest
for fear that attacks would become habit. Today,

another builds in the same spot. I stoop by,
beneath notice, as she labors to make room

for eggs fertilized with stored sperm from a single
drone. Such diligence should earn rewards.

I stroll to the mailbox and marvel at their ability
to manufacture wood pulp for nests, how

certain species avoid mating with siblings
on the basis of chemical signatures, and that

they voluntarily control the sex of their offspring.
Ah, the wonders of nature! Approaching the door,

I look up and observe the growing nest with
admiration, enter the house without stumbling,

and inhale the fragrance of the perfectly arranged
lilies. The books on the table entice me, so I

pour a glass of malbec and thumb through them
with great pleasure. Soon, after sunset, she will die.

* * *

“While Looking Up at a Working Wasp, I Trip” was published in MockingHeart Review in May 2018.

32 thoughts on “While Looking Up at a Working Wasp, I Trip

  1. I loved this. I am wondering if you agree that the extended phrase of “spill coffee…” takes the breath out of the line? And while it makes perfect sense, the word “drone” seemed redundant and metrically over-extending. Maybe I will read it again and change my mind. I loved the ballooning arm and unspoken agreements, the certainty of death because they don’t seem to get the messsge that they are not wanted in the places they were born. Should we call them “Dreamers?”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I generally cheer for nonhumans, too, but my body doesn’t react well to stings – three out of the last four stings have resulted in doctor visits and antibiotics. This past Friday’s sting, alas, was the third one. 😦


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