TO THE WASPS (and others I have harmed)

by Betty Benson


When I sent your home tumbling,
over the ladder and into the bushes, you did not wait
for an apology. I felt the sting
of your displeasure. Clearly,
you were not happy
with me.

My old house, its weathered wood gnawed
to form papery walls,
tiny chambers so precisely constructed
a mathematician might marvel at the precision
bound together by your labor, these perfect cells,
resting on my desk,
hollow now. I remember

love, so carefully 
structured. Layer by layer, each cell,
tenuous, supporting the next—fragile
supporting fragile. Until (old wounds
having lost their sting), we breathed
together, but without

What I’d like to say is this:
I never meant to          knock you down,
wreck your heart, leave you
I only meant to wash
my windows. I never meant to           leave you
wounded, without
a home. In the world
and wanting.

Betty Benson holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Currently she lives and writes in Minneapolis on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. She is dedicated to honoring the tangled stories of the places where she and others have lived. Her work is forthcoming in As Above So Below.