wasp box

Part of a collaboration series with writer Joy Surles


Text by Joy Surles

She tried to make a home in the hornet’s nest, her eyes swollen nearly shut, daubing her skin with salve. She artfully arranged furniture, opened windows to let light into the draughty corners, her hums melting into the drone of her companions’ constant throttle. She lay her grandmother’s quilt over the back of a chair and fluffed a pillow.

She was gentle with each wasp, in part because she loved them, but also because she was afraid. She knew that if she accidentally crushed one, its venom sac would release a chemical to summon its nearby companions – a flying armada of rage. She held her (swollen) tongue and sat down, softly, to gauze her wounds.