Happy Birthday, Soph!
On the Wing Greetings
The hornet wishes you happy birthday, sends flakes of pinched skin in an envelope. He just doesn’t understand the customs. Do not be afraid of bugs, child. The bees, the honey. The mosquitoes, the bats. Honestly, the world would be a better place without invisible flying pain, small black avengers. I know. But it is my place to distract you from that which you should not be afraid of. My mother taught me. Do not fear. Do not cry over cancer, no-see-um. Say why not me? Say I will take the fish hook in the arm. Just untie the fly, would you, please. Read your fortune in the raised welts scrawling your tender arm. Pink salve will heal the bite. It’s pink, after all. Daddy Longlegs is just mommy’s wayward spouse. Bumble bees are cute. Roly-poly. Someone coined the phrase just for them. Clever, college educated folks designed spectacular beetles, bumbles bees, and lady bugs for your brother’s nursery. Flowers were good enough for you. And here is where I went wrong. Ay. There’s the rub. Flesh-colored roses for the boy. Sensitive. Sultry smiling bugs for the girl. Toughen her up. Sugar and spice. That’s what the bees suck, anyway. The next child will be called Ava. Winged beauty eating bugs. Best wishes without sting.