The Difference Between Old Folks and Fig Wasps

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 30, 2018

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Submitted: August 30, 2018



They nodded their heads in agreement

And gave Nana a little nudge into a nursing home.

Said it would be best for her.

For everyone.

That it was too much a burden

To care for her alone.

To care for her at all.


So, she gossiped with the newspapers 

Since all her girlfriends were ghosts

And being hearing-impaired

Made it practically impossible to converse with the living-impaired.


Their whispers, distant and far too faint.

Though she often called out for them,

She figured, “Maybe Heaven just has a horrible reception

Or God's receptionist is on uh...

A lunch break! 30 minutes up there

Sure does seems like an eternity down here.”

She knitted sweaters for grandchildren, who would never visit,

Waiting for a phone call.

Her soft bones neatly tucked away

Into an 8 by 8.

Nana was not loved or longed-for enough to be nostalgic.

More like unkempt boxes of sentimental knickknacks

They left behind, collecting cobwebs in a basement. 

She simply took up too much space

To fit into the newer and more nuanced life ahead of them.


You know, a friend of mine, Christina, 

Once told me that a female fig wasp

Squeezes its way through a small passage of a fig

And lays her larva inside so her babies may live.


Brings pollen so we may eat the false fruit,

Breaking her antennas and wings in the process

And she dies there,

With the life she created,

And not alone.

Not with a newspaper for a neighbor.

Not with a phone that never calls.

Not with a needle, knitting sweaters 

To warm the wire bones of humans made of hangers.

© Copyright 2018 Joshua Chas McCool. All rights reserved.