pull the twigs and branches out, careful not to rip the thin outer shell
of the paper nest. I hand it to my daughter, tell her
this is the only time she can safely hold a hornet nest this big
here, in the dead of winter, when all of the larvae are sleeping
and all of the adult wasps are long dead.
We take the whole nest back to our house, set it on the picnic table
in the back yard. I get out the jigsaw and carefully cut
the gray mass open, quickly, so that it falls into two even halves
open on the table like a book about insects. I point out the little white eggs
laid in neat, even rows all through the honeycomb within,
evidence of the care that even yellow jackets take
when planning a future for their young.
Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, The Hong Kong Review, and Appalachian Journal. She currently teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, the Richard Hugo House in Washington, and WriterHouse in Virginia.