By Karen J. Weyant

When my father held his Bic lighter
to the nests in back of the garage,
the gray paper pulp sparked
then blackened. Ashes fell,
coating crawling ivy and clover.
A few yellowjackets fled,
one or two swirled, flying
into the sweaty face of my father,
but most too stunned,
their usual side-to-side swag
of a dance, flailing in the smoke.
When one landed on my arm, I stiffened.
His wings settled into a still gauze,
body coiled in yellow bands,
the same shade as buttercups we held
to our skin, cupping sunlight near our chins.
Every step, careful, quivering, as if neither
of us knew who was supposed to sting.

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