A wood wasp, slow and alone bangs into the glass
before falling to the pane again and again.
They come in from a crack in the pipe and head for the window,
where someone might wait for your return
in one text, or kill you if you return in another.
Five, six, seven, eight—
the last of the wood wasps escapes for now
and a slate blue butterfly lands.
It might be injured or resting…
This morning instead of rising,
I think of buffalo stampedes,
ribbons drifting from wires to drown out
the television audible in the courtyard:
car crashes, explosions
giving way to a jingle about hotdogs.
At dinner someone comments
how we’re all descended from a few good men
which appears to support the theory of a few bad apples
and I think of rules, exceptions and hunger.
How we multiply and cancel as in one day
you have a subscription, a father, a pension.
How Somali pirates found—
after the fishing schools died down—
a haul in humans.
(Only the fast and swift can cut lines
of Bermuda rigged, long keeled, yachts.)
All the little zeros humming as
sailing insurance premiums rise
as I write this and recall how
it is harder for a computer
to understand a question than to answer it.
Is the littlest one old enough to stand by himself
on the inclined sidewalk
as he peers at the translucent
condom blown into a balloon?
His sister only inches taller
with braids dangling to her waist
asking her big brother why they can’t
touch it, send it sailing into the air?
The oldest weighing
no more than a couple sacks of potatoes,
batting the smaller hands away…
His dark eyes perplexed by sidewalk trash.
I wish he could see the ocean,
wade into the shallows while adults hold
out their arms to all the little hands
splashing at the sun’s silver shavings
swimming toward each other like music.
I wish he could close his eyes and listen
for the question fluttering out the window of chest.