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.

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

  1. I think (not sure) but I am allergic to hornets. A long time ago (I was probably 11 or 12) I was at a friends house. We were outside and he pointed to this very large hornet’s nest near his house. He told me to be careful of the bees.
    Some time passed and I went home. When I got home my whole arm was paralyzed. I could not feel or move it. I nearly freaked out but my mom took care of me until the strange paralysis went away.
    I didn’t feel the sting of the hornet. So I can not say the paralysis was caused by the bees. Just a very strange coincidence that after seeing the nest I came down with this strange paralysis.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. oh my goodness, only you can write beautifully about wasps. They are dreadful creatures in my eyes. btw, intolerant now could become anaphylaxis in a future sting.. — I always wear a hat outdoors with the hope that they dont see a person with sweet skin under the hat. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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