Hornet's Nest
Scott T. Hutchison

Hornet's Nest

You sneak in, hit the hornet’s nest
with a manly shot of toxins
from ten feet away—then run.
The ball turret hole
at the bottom of the swirled grey paper
churns with a hundred soaked wings,
stumbling down into the air
consumed with choking murder in mind
and mindlessness. Your daughter
wide-eyed watches from the window—
as the nest drools mortal illness
from the garage eve closest to her pink swing set.
Protect her, that’s the main ingredient
driving your finger on the
chemical-release button. You think
yourself some kind of hero, but
she’s crying streaks as hornet after fuming hornet
flings itself out into the sunshine
against the colony’s damning
and their death, yellow-black bodies
swirling, striking the pane and curling
on the window ledge, stingers throbbing
in mad attempt to repay dirty for dirty.
You think you’ve run far enough away,
you’re relief-laughing, and she sees you.
She doesn’t understand how such stings
destroy muscle, the pain and poison
they convey. You’ve spared her that lesson.
Job over. But she begins pounding
against the barrier, and you know
you are a mean silly man, someone
she does not like. She only sees bodies.

Scott T. Hutchison

has contributed to Chattahoochee Review, Georgia Review, and Southern Review. His new work is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Fourth River, Aethlon, Carolina Quarterly, and Tar River Poetry.