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.