hornets

A dead hornet lies on her back beside my chair with her six legs folded neatly over her thorax. At the woods’ edge, a rain of yellow leaves.

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.

Four degrees above freezing. When I nudge the foot of a hornet clinging to the bottom of the railing, she swings her leg out in a slow arc.

Patches of frost in the yard. A yellow jacket from the underground nest in the garden lands on the shoulder of my sunlit coat.

A honeybee lands on the porch railing, and seconds later, a hornet lands four inches away. When the bee takes flight, so does the hornet.