A squadron of wasps gathers at the window
screens, the doorway & the lip of the over-
hang, all on the lookout for an apt place
to set up shop & fashion their mud hut for
this summer’s colony. I’m reading my well-
traveled copy of Thoreau’s Journal, as one
gentleman wasp edges closer to take up
his position on my book that’s face down
on the table. Such a curious fellow he seems
with his marked desire to groom himself, perched
as he is on the book’s back cover while attending first
to his thorax before moving on to his two, most delicately
attuned antennae, grooming one & then the other with such
meticulous care reminiscent of a proper Calvinist minister.
It’s early morning on what promises to be a bright June day.
Perhaps, he’s following that time-honored ritual passed along
for eons as we humans tend to do also, our first-in-the-morning
ablutions, doing them carefully the way our mothers taught us
as we welcome the new day & somehow bring ourselves into
focus after what might’ve been a turbulent night of dreams.
Yet, as I watch this wasp more closely, he edges out to
the very verge of the book’s cover & there comes to rest,
settling in on the mustard-colored cover to take in, for
the moment, all the wonders of the world before him.
The book has now become his open observatory
so that this gentleman is, for the moment, with
each micro-inch of him from wingtips to his
finely calibrated stinger as well as his entire being
now arrived at a heightened awareness. Could he be
attempting to glean the very best lessons Thoreau offers,
the ones he finds most efficacious for a peculiarly alert wasp
since Thoreau, indeed, did have several apt thoughts on a few of
those close brethren, ants & such, although now I can’t recall any
for wasps, yet I’m loving the opportunity to sit here with this
well-behaved fellow in his perfect state of contentment
given the frantic & disingenuous world in which he
& I occupy, uneasy sojourners that we both appear to be.
Terry Savoie’s poems have been in more than 400 literary journals both domestically and abroad over the past four decades. These include APR, Portage, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Sonora Review, North American Review, Commonweal, and The Iowa Review as well as America, Tar River Poetry, and Cumberland River Review.