I found it comforting to learn
that paper wasps can pick out one
another by their faces.
You who scream at bees and squish
wasps paper-flat between the window
and some disregarded magazine
must squirm to think those, your littlest
victims, share with us some semblance
of the self.
But I was comforted to know
that, when the adversaries in
that accidental tragedy you
had out with the mower all
returned in disarray to mourn
the ruins of their nest, strewn out
among the sweet-cut grass, and then
commenced their many-winged diaspora,
they had the strength of company.
Perhaps the wasp who stung you twice
in panic later felt some calm
to recognize beside her all
the contours of a sister: mandibles
clenched up in solidarity,
the sympathetic sweep of the antennae,
that broad, familiar sloping of the yellow frons.
I find it comforting to think
that we and bees share hierarchies,
with class and queen no mystery
to members of that strange race ruled by flowers.
Leaving bees to their clandestine
microcosm, you lend your metaphors
to grander and more faceless things:
grant intention to the tides,
a buddha to each star.