Mud Daubers (#26)

Peace-seeking mud daubers,
Lovers of good work,
Blue-black glinting
In the morning sun—

When, at age six, I climbed
The hot cinderblocks of the
Sow shed, and one brick tumbled,
Disturbing their labor—

Swarm! So many stings!
Instant admonishment,
Bare legs blistered with welts.
Moments later, in the farmhouse

My stone-eyed uncle asked me
“Why are you crying?”
For the same reason,
I now understand,

That a forty year old man
Could ask a child
Such a caustic question:
Acute suffering.

But more mysteriously,
I knew I cried also for the
Humming haste of the wasps,
Dutifully heuristic, adults whom

I respected, and had never
Intended to disturb.
The moment I fled, they calmed,
Returning to their parging,

Plastering pipes.
Pipes? Flutes!
Cylinders stuffed with spiders,
Beetles, flies. Feasts.

Look! Their waists,
Thin as bow hair;
Susurrant wings
Softly warning. Merciful.

Metallic musicians, conducting,
Near the reeds at
The edge of the marsh
Balling wet clay,

Mandibles filled with mud,
Pragmatic silence.
Futile, to proffer pain,
When grace is your language!

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