When the yellow jacket stung
my hand, it died.
I plucked out its stinger
along with a portion of its posterior.
He bequeathed me his asshole,
his apian F-you,
and crash dove. He bit the sand
and I left a footstep in the trail.
For three days, fingers, palm,
wrist remained swollen, throbbed.
Only my opposable thumb was spared
to function normally. Not much help.
Antihistamines performed well.
I slept, and slept some more.
I had woozy, broken-winged dreams
about paratrooper bees.
In one scene the former executed
a widespread populations collapse;
there was famine in the lands of honey.
In another restless, fervid scenario,
bees plummeted from dark skies,
bombing bare-headed passersby
across the Arkansas Ozarks into Louisiana.
Thousands of striped insects flashed yellow
rings in mysterious defeat.
By Friday, I was able to properly
operate my computer mouse around
its pad, click on the Times headlines,
read clear-eyed on screen how
my hypoallergenic nightmares came true.
Squadrons of bees had struck again.
So much for opposable thumbs
and their digitized prowess online.
I may have recovered, but I will not
survive the next extinction.
Karla Linn Merrifield has had 1000+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 15 books to her credit. Following her 2018 Psyche’s Scroll (Poetry Box Select) is the full-length book Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North from Cirque Press. Her newest poetry collection, My Body the Guitar, recently nominated for the National Book Award, was inspired by famous guitarists and their guitars and published in December 2021 by Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY). She is a frequent contributor to The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review. Web site:
karlalinnmerrifield.org/; blog at karlalinnmerrifeld.wordpress.com/; Tweet @LinnMerrifiel