The wasps are dying in my son’s

bedroom, and each morning I rush

to collect them before he wakes

and finds them on the floor. On my

knees, cheek pressed to the thin woolen

rug so I can see them at eye

level, I pick them up by their

wings, by a crooked leg, pinching

parts between my two fingers like

a jeweler. At first the numbers

startle me—I find forty, then

fifty striped bodies, some twisting

in hunger’s throes. Soon their bodies

dwindle to a dozen. I’ve learned

the drones can’t feed themselves, that they

rely on their sisters, the queen’s

will for food and care. Once my boy

leaves for school, his last year before

he heads to college, I return

to the room, lay my head against

a wall, listen for their humming.

I am learning not to cry