Emily Rapp

Emily Rapp
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
July 12
Emily Rapp is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir, and The Still Point of the Turning World, which is forthcoming from Penguin Press in March 2013. She is also the author of many essays and stories in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bellevue Literary Review, The Sun, Body + Soul, StoryQuarterly, The Texas Observer, and other publications. She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a faculty member with the University of California-Riverside Palm Desert MFA Program.


APRIL 20, 2012 6:21PM

Wasp’s Nest

Rate: 3 Flag

Tonight, at the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Organization’s Annual Family Conference in Orlando, I attended a commemoration ceremony for the children who have died this year and in previous years. The name of each child was read aloud. Pictures were shown. Candles were lit. A room full of grieving people. In February I wrote this poem for Miss Elliott, the daughter of my friend Becky. I post it tonight in honor of all the children who have been lost to these diseases, and to the amazing parents who loved them each day of their lives. Deep love equals deep loss, and parental love requires emotional bravery. There’s no other way. 



Wasp’s Nest


For Becky Benson


There is nothing I understand.


The nest fell to the ground. Framed

first in the window at five o’clock,


holes like a heart,

heat like a heart but empty too-

It is mid-winter, the wasps

half-resurrected. Why a space to house what isn’t there?


Here today, gone tomorrow.


There is nothing

I understand-


This moment spinning flakes

at the cold window, scabs

of old songs, old

curses. Valentine,


there is no veil

between the world


end of everything. Lying


in bed with pieces of

the fallen mind lifted

from a body,


hot snowball thrown into the gravel walk,

hell-bound rocket.


Where is it?


I found it easily

under the pile of dirt beneath

the window, snow-pressed, blown

along side, replacing what you wanted to see.


All night it was here and now what?


It is early. Time

to leave

the top of the staircase.


The upper hand

The lower hand

I have no hands,

no help.


Somewhere nearby,

far off, around this corner-

my baby swings in the bitter

peace of the dying.


If only I could strike!

Stinging and wakeful, touch it,

take it

in my mouth, end all desire-


Silence at five in the morning,

downstairs, listening: Where is it? Where-


Here all the houses are burning

but I am the only one looking

and I understand nothing

of this place.

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So much love and emotion packed in this poem. Beautiful and powerful.
rated with love
An empty nest resonates in winter. This poem does as well.