Morning. Woke up to the sound of rain while it was still dark. Remembered the time a wasp stung me in bed.
Somehow also remembered the date… June fifth. I had recently graduated from Rutgers University and returned to the waitressing job for the summer. Another waiter, also a poet, gave me a book to borrow. One night before falling asleep I reached over to my nightstand to pick up his book.
Felt a sharp biting sensation on the skin of my upper inner arm, then a bee landed on my comforter beside me. I screamed to my brother in the next room to take the dead bee outside. Despite all the summers I spent on the beaches of New Jersey, I had never been stung before, by a bee or jellyfish or anything at all. The unexpected pain stunned me. I have never been a tough recipient of pain. Also did not yet realize that the bee was dead, and thought he might try to get me again. My brother used my Spanish porrón to cup the wasp and took him outside. He placed the porrón in the garden in the dark.
A big red spot formed on the inside of my upper arm. I showed it to friends at bars. “I was stung by a wasp in my very own bed a few nights ago!”
The porrón with the dead wasp remained in the garden all summer long, collecting rainwater that later turned brown. Often I wondered why no one in my family emptied it and brought it back inside. I never did and it became somewhat of a familiar fixture, a neglected garden ornament with a story. I had always been afraid of being stung by a bee, and then I was while laying in my bed one night.
And so I do not mind stretching next to the bee’s nest this morning. This part of the yard gets the most sun early in the morning and the warmth is soft on my skin. I do not wish to get stung by one of these jungle bees but maybe I will, no matter where I stand.