The hornet nest

For most of summer 2019, I was wary of this grey football hanging low in the maple tree. When viewed from a distance, maybe two or three workers would congregate by the entrance. Like animated bar-patrons, seen from the street, telling stories and braving the cold for a smoke in mid winter. But get closer, especially with the mower, and a mob of menace would start to appear. Ten—then twenty—with several taking flight.

The lawn grew tall under that branch and went to seed.

Some memories alarm me like that sudden assembly of stingers. Moments from the past with their own kind of menace . . . I dare not get too close. Songs skipped. Pictures unseen in boxes high on a closet shelf. Flashbacks doused in alcohol.

Maybe though, someday, for some of them, as seasons change and threats fade, I’ll see their beauty and bring them inside.

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