Brian Clifton 


Apocalypse With Wasps

Their nests hung 
in hard to reach 
spaces, so you shook

the basement rafters
and soon the wasps
wrapped their swarm
around my body—

Their bodies forced 
themselves in. My whole 

being pulsated
with their hum.
They lifted me
as I crushed them

and you watched 
holding your popsicle

stick god’s eye 
until they dropped me
back in the yard. 

Only then did you cake 
my buzzing head 
with Raid.

You wanted me 

so badly to whisper 
a prophecy blown

from the tip of a stinger
or to flicker with God’s 
knotted stare. 

You tweezed them 
from my hair and swore 

I glowed more
with each wasp 
you took, and for this 

moment you refused 
to thank me. 


Brian Clifton lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Growing up, he spent the summers with his grandparents in eastern Tennessee. His work can be found in The Denver Quarterly, The Pinch, Cutbank, and other magazines.


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