Remember that time you poured
gasoline into the yellow jacket nest
burrowed beneath our clothesline
and then threw a lit match
into the hole and waited
to swat any who dared to escape?
We went to the pumpkin patch
today. Gathered as a family to eat
spice cake—your only sweet indulgence.
We didn’t sing––not trusting
our voices to say Dear Dad
without breaking––our throats aflame
scorched by the sorrow we try to swallow
with the cream cheese frosting.
I have questions for your ghost
but all that comes out of my mouth
are angry wasps, disoriented and ready to sting.
Gabby Gilliam lives in the DC metro area with her husband and son. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Tofu Ink, The Ekphrastic Review, Pure Slush, Deep Overstock, Vermillion, MacQueen’s Quinterly, and Equinox. You can find her online at gabbygilliam.squarespace.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GabbyGilliamAuthor