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As I Am Stung by a Persistent Yellow Jacket

Kevin A. Risner

tw // getting stung by bees and killing them // nothing that graphic


I shout FUUUCK at the exact moment

The neighborhood turns silent.

I convalesce for six hours

Thinking, I know there’s still a risk

When disposing that nest beneath the mulch,

The size of the entrance to their den tinier than a nickel,

Worth more than the aphids and grubs

They destroyed all summer long.

We destroyed the hornets in turn, a holy cycle.

My chives continue to thrive

Even as the wettest spring morphs

Into driest summer.

I remember reading a book as a kid:

One character provoked a nest of yellow jackets

With a stick, with his foot, something like that.

A swarm swirled around him like a tornado,

The aftermath illustrated – a fully bandaged child

Lying on the bed with only mouth and nose visible.

He had it coming. He did.

An exterminator assured me whatever was used to kill

The insects would not hurt my herbs.

I rinsed the ever-living hell out of them.

The leaves, each vein, each stem. I never see the fallout,

The corpses bundled beneath the ground, dry as dust

For the next few weeks.

I cover the quarry-like hole where the home once was,

Where life vibrated within such a finite space,

What felt like the most perfect protection.

You’d sting anyone, wouldn’t you?

Jab at whatever came to ruin your life,

Those you loved?

Kevin A. Risner (he/him) is a product of Ohio. His forthcoming chapbook -- DO US A FAVOR -- will be published by Variant Literature this August.

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