Gentleman Wasp

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

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.

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