The Lost Country

Fall 2015 • Vol. 4, No. 1

issn 2326-5310 (online)


By Donald Carlson

This work was published in the Fall 2015 issue of The Lost Country. You may purchase a copy of this issue from us or, if you prefer, from Amazon.

In the twelfth edition
of his taxonomy
published in 1767,
Linnaeus named them
Vespa carolina. In 1855
de Saussure changed Vespa
to Polistes, the genus coined
by Latreille in ’02: a paper wasp,
of the family Vespidae,
a red wasp, color of warning
or pain, so coded
as light’s spectrum is filtered
through the human eye.

Darting on black wings,
above the green and browning
helicopters of Bermuda grass,
patrolling the parching land
with stings whose venom
can cause skin to itch,
to burn and rash, that can
put fingers around a throat
and crush its airways shut,
relentless as the labeller’s
lust for naming things.