Yellowjackets

It isn’t that I see them human,
these yellowjackets dying in the trap,
or compare the size of brains,
or say that there are other lives
(if there are other lives
as some monks believe),
or claim no wasp will ever cry for me —
none will ever miscount,
innocently kiss,
regret a dull
insensitivity.

But only absolute sadness
in a piece of plastic
hanging from a beam,
the circles they trace on its wall
in the town’s first frost
a million miles from purpose.
It’s just the fact of it is wrong
and nothing else.

Cecropia Moth

The giant silk moth has no mouth.
He doesn’t eat.
He sleeps most days.
He flies in for a few weeks:
his only purpose is to mate
(and yeah, I knew a guy like that
in college, too),
beating his big-winged beauty
like a paper heart against the doorjamb,
the dried-blood-red of those massive wings,
the eyes inset,
the cracked grin of a voodoo god
painted on,
saying “Stay away!”
in the old tongue:
you wouldn’t want this death.

But for all that,
for his disguise,
his single-minded fasting of a saint,
they get him anyway.

I went inside to grab a tape measure
when I discovered one last Saturday,
but he was gone when I got back —
the scrub-jays on the roof perhaps,
or the Bullock’s oriole.

All they left on the deck
was a wing the size of a toddler’s hand,
thin as a five dollar bill.

I slipped it in my wallet
between my license
and a coffee shop punch card,
knowing there’s a chance
we’ll wake up one morning
in a world where quiet grace
is currency.
I pull it out sometimes,
unspent, and stare,
my eye and his
unseeing voodoo eye.