The Tenth Plague by R.K. Hamilton

A thick army of red
ants march in droves. 
They surround the 
frame of the door.

The scent of damp stone, petrichor,
fills me up and rattles my
bones like the shiver of a
chill. Basement drafts?

Did I enter without 
In my dream I pause at
the sight of the ants. 

They scare me. Even worse
when they freeze; stilled by my approach. 
Covering every inch of stone. Brush strokes
of blood. A warning: Do not enter here.

But I did and I do 
in my nightmares. My soft
Barbie nightgown 
an innocent invitation.

The scent of moth balls
(which I did not know then
but do now)
Their false cleanliness.

It was the first time I tasted
fear; pinched in the corner of 
my jaws. Mouth full of 
cotton and metal. 


R.K. Hamilton teaches English in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and is currently pursuing her MFA in creative
nonfiction at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She lives in Corbin, Kentucky with her husband, daughter,
and two dogs. 

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