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Yellow Jackets

Gary L. McDowell

for Amy Newman

I’ve come to see the Queen’s chamber, the thick layers of honey and paper-mâché
surrounding her plump, supple body, her head bowed as others serve her.
I want to tell her that I am what I seem, but the hive is jumping and there is no
language to convince her that this is all I am
and so I wait and I watch for a change in the light or the place
or the heat or my want and one by one from the hive they come
and they’re out – the swift curve of their stingers, their round, throbbing
abdomens and their heads stuck to their bodies with a thread-thin piece
of tissue, and they’re swimming in waves around me and I’m here inside
the shadow of their humid wings, their eyes like carnival mirrors
as we rise off the roof into the frothing sea
and curl into a hard new language.

Gary L. McDowell

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