poem index

Late Autumn Wasp

James Hoch
One must admire the desperate way 
                it flings
itself through air amid winter’s slow 
                paralysis, 

and clings to shriveled fruit, dropped
                Coke bottle, 
any sugary residue, any unctuous
                carcass,  

and slug-drunk grows stiff, its joints 
                unswiveled, 
wings stale and oar-still, like a heart;
                yes, almost 

too easily like a heart the way, cudgeled,  
                it lies 
waiting for shift of season, light, a thing 
                to drink down, 

gnaw on, or, failing that, leaves half of
                itself torn
willingly, ever-quivering, in some 
                larger figure.

"Late Autumn Wasp", from Miscreants by James Hoch. Copyright © 2007 by James Hoch. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

James Hoch