To a Friend in Love with the Wrong Man Again, by Stephen Dunn

It was never meant to be sensible,
fully understandable. The digger wasp,
for example, goes up to the tarantula
like a friend and the tarantula freezes,
allows itself to be inspected.
Then it digs the tarantula’s grave
while the tarantula watches. You, I bet,
would have guessed with a name
like tarantula, the tarantula would’ve been
the villain. But it is we who named
the tarantula and made the digger wasp
sound honest, hard-working.
And, of course, there is no villain,
only the scheme of things, only horror,
and occasionally the strange birth
of a butterfly and its short, gorgeous,
utterly careless season.
I should have mentioned the digger wasp
doesn’t kill its victim, but stuns it,
drags it to the grave, lays one egg
on its stomach, and closes up.
You see, the instinct is maternal.
The newborn wasp feeds
off the tarantula for weeks,
digs itself out at the right time
and enters the odd, wonderful world.
I’ve no advice for you, my friend.
You, who would take it—
as all of us would—and offer it
up to the heart, like a sacrifice.

Stephen Dunn, from Work and Love

3 Responses to “To a Friend in Love with the Wrong Man Again, by Stephen Dunn”
  1. ellaseyes says:

    this is exactly what happens when someone stuns you with their love, plants their love in you then leaves. leaving that love to grow and eat you alive while they are off stunning some other poor thing.
    Wow. Luckily not being spiders, humans can eventually wake from their stupor and begin to heal and hopefully avoid those nasty bugs in the future.

  2. I’d encourage you to read as much Stephen Dunn as you can, though it will make you ache.

    And I adore you. Thanks for taking the time to read and post (and share).

    Much love,

  3. Thomas Davis says:

    What a fantastic poem. Original, filled with metaphorical insights. Wonderful poetry.

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