He doesn’t notice

the small flying thing

with the stinger

at the end of its thorax

fall into the opening

of his soda can.


So he picks it up

chugs the syrupy sweet


and the flying thing’s stinger

impales itself

in the wall of his esophagus.


He might as well

have licked an

electrical outlet;

replaced his blood

with acid.


The pain is an instantaneous God:

blinding, encompassing, absolute.

He will do anything to placate it.

There is not a single thought

in his brain other than

end this.


He pounds his throat,

nearly crushes his larynx.


He forces his fingers

over his tongue

down his gullet.

He can’t reach the tiny thorn

but he kicks in the gag reflex.

Every bit of lunch

and the flying thing

and the stinger

come back up.


In those few seconds

he’s decimated the patio furniture.

He’s slapped his significant other

who didn’t even have time to scream.


He’d counted himself

happy, even fortunate,



Now he can’t

lay his head on a pillow

put a fork in his mouth

step through a door


without being afraid

of what might clamp down

like the unseen jagged teeth

of a bear trap.


Scott Urban

Scott’s poems have either recently appeared or are scheduled to appear in THE 2 RIVERS VIEW, ECLECTICA, and THE LOCUST MAGAZINE.  His most recent poetry collection is GOD’S WILL (Mad Rush Press).  His most recent anthology appearance is EVERY RIVER ON EARTH (Ohio University Press). He lives and writes in southeastern Ohio in a former Amish farmhouse that isn’t haunted — yet.

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