High summer. Afternoon. A vodka tonic
Patters with effervescent platitudes,
The lime slice shining like a small green sun.
You smell aged wood, old grass. A drop of sweat
Careens into the corner of your mouth;
You tongue it off, pricked by its salty tang.
Your backyard deck’s just high enough to look
Over your neighbor’s fence and into his yard.
His daughter sometimes noodles down her straps.
It’s hot these days: the air in certain places
Wriggles as though an invisible worm were pinned
To nothing. Sip. You’re proud of this conceit.
That’s when you notice the wasp, hanging there,
Bobbing a little like a fishing lure,
A wasp as innocuous as an idle thought—
Your neighbor’s sunny daughter, one more drink—
Until you think, Where did that bastard come from,
And choose to follow its deliberate flight
As the wasp copters up (you’re getting warm)
To rest beside the nest beneath your eaves.
You find a stick. Tap. Tap. You hear the swarm.
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