I Should Have Asked Sooner – by Gabby Gilliam

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

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