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THE WASP NEST

it held my attention
like the ash on the end of Grandfather's cigar
taking shape slowly the way some poems do
the mind flying to and from it
unable to leave it alone

it hung in the eaves
a small gray planet
inhabited, industrious
a papier-maché parallel world benign
that is
until the child was stung

"coexistence is no longer possible"
hissed the canister
breathing violence into cells

and from deep within the abbey
a choir of thin voices swells
in a angry "Ooooooommmmmmmm"
like a hand sinking
in a pool of silence
I took a broom and the colony fell
a cardboard head spilling its beaded brains

sweeping up and burning the remains
I intended to put the incident away
and would have
except for the lone survivor
clinging to the moorings
Until the darkness took him
That wasp, so lonely —
Almost human

      — Ric Masten