Polistes fuscatus

Alma Baumwoll

Local city builder,
large-stung seraphs of spit and gaster,

flexed faces of
war paint and the mother desires:

wait, do not
wait. has your hormone been segmented

from care?
has your season been cut from the time

you were born?
Goodbye to the natal nest’s sorority;

press the wind,
hamuli strong, thread waist constricting

hemolymph to odd
arthropod proportions and tracheae.

It will be cold
without the trophallaxis.

It will be cold
sans mandibulation.

It will be cold
without the pairing of mate

to season and accumulation
of fat and flesh and skeletons of wood,

without the sisters
and the children and the children and

the larval pantry.

Alma Baumwoll spent her childhood digging in the dirt for sworms, and still enjoys collecting bug spit. She writes poetry, teaches biology, and dances. Her work has been published by Arrowsmith Press, and Shakespeare’s Monkey and she contributed to the Oral History of 9/11 exhibit at the Smithsonian.