If the manufacturer’s promise holds true, the new roof will outlast my father

By Jessica Pierce

And he admires that probability. It’s far more likely
than the chance of us being here as who we are; someone calculated that
as about 400 trillion to one. He admires this, too, and how the sun

sits on our shoulders right now. Under the eaves of that sturdy-as-hell roof,
the common ariel hornet tucked her nest for the summer.
I was about to describe the season as brief,

but that is only how my stuttering synapses
process time. So, I assure myself that my father will live damn close
to forever, with a quick sidestep to knock on the closest tree and shush

any wisp of a god still hovering nearby. The bit of sun moves,
so we move. Dolichovespula arenaria probably notes
where our ungainly grounded bodies take up space

and keeps a safe distance, her stinger at the ready but sheathed
as long as we don’t keep her from the lacewings and spiders
she seeks for her still-soft larvae. The larvae trust her strong mandibles

will bring back what they need, and she trusts
the secreted sugar they offer back when they’re full,
a nectar of thanks thanks for the sisterhood, a chance

for another summer day. Again, the sun shifts. And there’s so much
light striking my ever-blinking eyes that it’s hard to bear
witness to much beyond my warm shoulders, beyond the idea

of my father next to me, beyond the communion of chance.

Jessica Pierce has poems in magazines including Bellingham Review, JMWW, Tar River Poetry, Euphony, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Northwest Review. Nimrod International Journal selected her as a finalist for the 2020 and 2021 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She was a finalist in CALYC Journal’s 2020 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize, New Ohio Review’s 2019 NORward Prize for Poetry, and the 2019 MVICW Poetry Contest. She was also the recipient of a 2019 MVICW Poet Fellowship. Her debut collection, Consider the Body, Winged, was published in 2021 by First Matter Press. She is also a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets nominee.

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