As we ran in the backyard
dad stepped on a buried bee nest
and screamed a word I didn't know
in a tone I recognized well.
As he ran-hopped into the house
through the sliding glass door,
I tried to catch him
with legs like a caterpillar.
Get ice, quick, god,
it hurts. It's swelling.
Once, angry, at dinner, he said:
my burger is bloody. And left.
Outside, the disgruntled bees stopped
swarming. Hums muffled underground,
their stingers resting, unlike their brothers
who pierced the soft skin of dad's foot.
Marlena Chertock is the Poetry Editor for District Lit. Her first collection of poetry, On that
one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. Her poems and short stories have appeared or are
forthcoming in Crab Fat, Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, The Fem, The Little Patuxent
Review, Moonsick and Paper Darts. Find her at
marlenachertock.com or @mchertock.