A Late-in-Life Miracle Baby’s Lament

by Mara Grayson

Somewhere a village 

has been invaded

            by wasps, sent 

there by aristocrats


            for the purposes 

                            of biological control.

            Caught below 

            this village, where 


a new nest lurks,

there are stingers rising

               from the dirt, like old 

solitary flowers, now 


                born between 

                              two slats of wood, 

                those the people fused 

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† beneath their feet ‚Äst


browning, bunioned,

carrying the body politic,


and saviors, both. 


               Hands, like feet: 

                              the meaning-

               -making of the earth, 

               embodied in the day- 


to-day. They’ll learn eventually

what nurtures 

               the strawberry wreaks havoc 

on the picker’s palm. 


               In the corner, quilt-

                             covered as the winter 

               sits a mother who is hungry 

               for the moon. 


Diligence has stained 

her fingers as beetroots

               in fibrous jackets, 

uniform-thick, adorned 


              with epaulettes 

              and calluses, touch that

                              teases daylight 

              as she plants her hands 


in everything unrooted,

endless as choices, 

               all the same. 

When her daughter, one 


               day, tells the story,

                the people will have had 

                              strong feet 

                and the wasps 


will have been temporary, 

                will have tired 

of the village and retreated 

from its sudden scarcity.


                 Above this village

                 the sun will still glow red:

                               Absence will 

                 soon spring the earth 


awake, pulling her 

                 along its orbit,

while the beetroot 

and the strawberry deliberate 


                 over which 

                             shall inherit 

                 the cone-shaped open 

                 mouth of dirt.



Mara Lee Grayson work has appeared or is forthcoming in Columbia Journal, Fiction, Mobius, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, West Trade Review, and other publications. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. An award-winning scholar of rhetorics of racism and antisemitism in higher education, Grayson is the author of two books of nonfiction. She holds an MFA from The City College of New York and a PhD from Columbia University. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Grayson resides in Southern California, where she is a faculty member at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Website: maragrayson.com. Twitter: @maraleegrayson.