From the archives – Stingers — Anna Evans


The bees are disappearing.
In England beekeeping is at risk
of replacing the national pastime.
Meanwhile, what some Americans call bees
are often wasps, a waste
of language sharp as a bee sting—

so keen it can only be perfect once.
I was stung by a wasp as a child,
stuck at the top of a corkscrew slide
behind a boy too scared to go down.
His screams paralyzed my screams.
Sometimes the thing you can see

that’s wrong, is not what’s most wrong.
Why do we call wasps bees?
Because color is dangerously
over-important to the species
homo sapiens. Seeing the same stripes
we miss the slender waist, the sleekness—

wasps and bees are only of the same
order, Hymenoptera. My elbow,
when I finally reached the ground,
had swollen to the exact size of a baseball,
a sport I knew nothing of then.
Nor could I have defined “allergic.”

Despite zero bee stings
and the puzzling absence of bees,
I always feared wasps and bees equally,
wrongly. Bees are not predators;
wasps are fitter for this imprecise world
from which gentleness fades, unnoticed.

from Autumn Sky Poetry 17 — by Anna Evans

Video from Franco Grisa


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