"The Mourning of Three Wasps" - Gregory de Rocher

"The Mourning of Three Wasps" - Gregory de Rocher

The first one buzzed
all around me, wildly, in crazed orbits,
even after I gently shooed it away.

I was filing the top of an ill-fitting door
so Fran├žoise could press into service the old cupboard,
which had since become useless.

The wine-colored wasp closed its tight circles
and stung me behind the knee
where my Bermudas offered no protection.

I swatted it down to the deck and stomped,
once, yet again, to make sure,
and returned to my filing, happy to be useful around the house.

Then I saw it.

A walnut-sized nest with a lone wasp
perched in a determined six-legged stance
on its papery flower anchored to the cabinet wall.

What to do?  Let Fran├žoise do the dirty work?
I severed the sole foot supporting the nest.
It fell to the shelf, but the wasp

clung, all the more determined, to its threatened home.
Another swipe of my rasp whisked it out of the cabinet and onto the
My shoe delivered another fatal blow.

But when I lifted my foot, sorrow swelled my throat.
I saw a single tiny egg oozing from its swaddling
the two wasps had been hell-bent to safeguard. 

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