For fifteen days a caterpillar feeds
on sorrel, selfheal, ragwort, mint, or privet.
If a wasp mounts it and injects its larvae,
they’ll prosper on its blood, and then gnaw through
its epidermis, fragile in the weeds.
The woolly bear will suffer trauma, outlive it,
protect the wasp cocoons, and then starve three
weeks, though surrounded by lush leaves and dew.
This is not part of a conspiracy.
The female wasp does what she’s always done.
The hapless caterpillar does the same.
And so it is with people; few are free
to fly away as Coppers in the sun,
Monarchs or moths in unforgiving flame.
Leo Yankevich’s latest books are The Last Silesian (The Mandrake Press, 2005) Tikkun Olam & Other Poems (Second Expanded Edition), (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012), Journey Late at Night: Poems & Translations (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2013) & The Hypocrisies of Heaven: Poems New & Old (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2016). His poems have appeared in Amelia, American Jones Building & Maintenance, Artword Quarterly, Beauty for Ashes Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Candelabrum, Cedar Hill Review, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, CounterPunch, Disquieting Muses, Edge City Review, Electric Acorn, Envoi, FutureCycle Poetry, Harpstrings, Iambs & Trochees, Iota, Ironwood, Kimera, Lite: Baltimore’s Literary Newspaper, Lucid Rhythms, Mr. Cogito, New Hope International, Nostoc, Parnassus Literary Journal, Pennine Platform, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Poetry Nottingham, Psychopoetica, Raintown Review, Riverrun, Romantics Quarterly, Ship of Fools, Snakeskin, Sonnet Scroll, Staple, Sulphur River Literary Review, Tennessee Quarterly, The Barefoot Muse, The East River Review, The Eclectic Muse, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, The London Magazine, The MacGuffin, The Monongahela Review, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, thehypertexts.com, The Pennsylvania Review, The Sarmatian Review, The Tennessee Review, Tucumcari Literary Review, Trinacria, Visions International, Weyfarers, Whelks Walk Review, Windsor Review, inter alia. He is editor of The New Formalist. More of his work can be found at Leo Yankevich.com.