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Cousin Wasp

Carole Satyamurti

You have X% of genes in common with this

common wasp, bothering your breakfast

scaling the juice jug on six sticky feet,

striped abdomen dippy with desire.


How stupidly it zigs and zags,

weaves tangles round your head,

seeming not to notice luscious black cherry

smears on the knife, figs oozing juice.


But now, insect lexicographer,

it sees that words are good to eat.

Thready yellow legs find Bonne

raised on the surface of the jam jar;


proboscis measures along

the trade description, list of ingredients,

then comes to rest in palpitating bliss,

getting its tongue round Maman. Maman.


From The French Literary Review No. 9 (April 2008)