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Aimee Nezhukumatathil

 

BEE WOLF

Not a bee. Not a wolf. A wasp.
Once I saw one try to lift a lizard
off a wall. The lizard did nothing, only
held its pink suction toes a bit tighter.
But after a few stings, the lizard’s

tongue flicked furious, and it fell.
I’ve felt it too. When a man you love
won’t love you back, almost nothing
can pry your sticky fingers from a phone,
even if you just want to hear the pause

in his voice you know so well—so well
you could pick out his exact breath
in a darkened room full of men. A mother
bee wolf teaches its babies well. To dig
an underground cell of soil almost

a yard deep, she carries a pebble at a time back
to the surface in her shiny mandibles.
Paints a white spot with her furry legs
on the place where her baby should start
digging once it’s ready to try the lavender air.

This new wasp will find a lizard of her very
own. At least she has a direction—I am sick
with the lack. I need a mark, a tattoo
etched on the arch of my foot, telling me
to hold on, clutch only what is mine.

 

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