bald-faced hornet

As clouds thin, the breeze turns hot. A pile of tailings under the bottom rail where the bald-faced hornet mines pulp for her paper house.

On the underside of a porch railing, a hornet gathers a mouthful of wood. A small yellow leaf caught in a spiderweb twirls in the wind.

A bald-faced hornet nest hangs abandoned from the top of a birch. The sun finds a new hole in the forest and blinds me as it tops the ridge.

The storm just past, a bald-faced hornet flies back and forth over the flattened stiltgrass. The crickets pick up where they left off.

On the flattened grass where snow has sat for months, the gray disk of an old hornet nest. The feral cat presses her belly fur to the earth.

The tall goldenrod’s budding tops continue to expand, extending new arms. I find a penny in my pocket and fling it at the hornets’ nest.

A bald-faced hornet hovers an inch away from my jeans. When I shoo her off, her long legs brush the back of my hand, soft as an eyelash.