Yellow Jackets
by John Minczeski

Stinging over and over
like the miracle of loaves
and fishes, they snarl

out of their aerodrome,
hell’s own angels
with little venom sacs.

In this story, I am the villain
with a can of poison
and a ten foot stream aimed

at their navel in the back lawn.
Welcome to the afterlife.
Can it be your song

I fear, or the rage in my blood,
combustible as a pile of dried leaves.
The hunger of August

draws you out.
The pressure of the hive
which says grow or die,

with death inevitable as
a crick in the neck.
So here you are,

the dessert course
of summer, an elegance
of orderly departures

and arrivals,
cleared for crawling
to the lip of the world,

cleared to the sweetness
of the drip pan
inside my grill,

or under the lip
of a beer can,

a possible trip to the ER
for a shot to restart the system.
I’ll never hold a match

to your casual acceptance of us
so long as I don’t rouse you

into a dark cloud.
It’s not like a virus,
that fast-moving exodus,

just a spot you’ve hollowed out
like an ant farm.

No list of arrivals
on the flight board.
No list of departures.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 2.

John MinczeskiJohn Minczeski is the author of five collections and several chapbooks. He has edited several anthologies, including a recent collection of Polish-American authors (with John Guzlowski), recently published in Poland. His publications include Atticus Review, Chattahoochie, Tampa Review, Harvard Review, The New Yorker, St. Paul Almanac, and others. He lives in the Twin Cities.

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