"Wasps in August"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Aug. 6 2002 3:33 PM

Wasps in August

Listen to Andrew Hudgins reading this poem. With the death craze on them, wasps in August rage near their paper nests, defending them from raccoons, jays, and other ravening guests

that hunger for the feast, and risk
the death-watch wrath of wasps.
They'll swarm on anything to save
the spit-and-tissue wisps,

their soft spawn pulsing as they swell.
In their united need
to gorge the hardening larvae in the nest,
they stand and bleakly feed

on broken apples in my yard.
They don't pause, don't buzz, don't
fly up in fear and light again.
They simply stand and eat

then ferry nectar to the nest.
Death calls, and they're replying,
The nest, the nest, the nest, the nest.
The easy job is dying.

Andrew Hudgins' most recent book is Shut Up, You're Fine: Poems for Very, Very Bad Children. His new book American Rendering: New and Selected Poems is due out in April.  He teaches at the Ohio State University.

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