Why We Roam

This was late July, you know?
So what I’m saying is:
Damn hot outside. I mean
Just really flippin’ hot outside
Ridiculously hot outside
You know? The air so thick and humid
Burning on my skin like fever sweat
And blackening my mood

OK, I’m pushing this old mower
And I’m wearing shorts and flip-flops
‘Cause it’s hot outside
(I mentioned that, I’m pretty sure)
And so I get to this back corner
Of our yard, this one dark corner
Back between the shed and fence
That’s almost always in the shade

I kinda shove the mower back there
Really quick, because
That gloomy corner sort of
Creeps me out. You know?
The weeds grow extra thick there
Even though the sun can barely
Shine. And so I shove, and feel the first
Hot stinger pierce my tender foot

And then it’s like the flippin’ blitzkrieg
Man, they’re coming fast as lightning
Goddamn yellow-jackets
Jamming fiery toxic daggers
In my feet and toes and ankles
Even underneath my sandal straps
I did what any normal man would do
You know? I turned and ran like hell

Now roughly two or three hours after this
My wife comes home from work
She finds me sitting in the living room
With ice packs wrapped around my feet
Of course she wonders why, and also
Why the lawn’s half-done. So I
Explain, and say there ain’t no way
I’m going back to get that mower

So, she rolls her eyes and goes
To get the mower, then two minutes later
She comes running back and says
I didn’t see your yellow-jackets
But there must have been
Eight copperheads! The one
Coiled on the mower struck at me
And I’m not going back out there, uh-uh

I figured she was mocking me
(Despite my glaring stinger-wounds!)
So I got up, and winced
(My poor feet called me dirty names)
I went back out there to that corner
And I wish I didn’t have to get
So close before I trusted my own eyes
Were seeing crocodiles

I turned and went back to the house
My wife and I grabbed weapons
We approached the corner carefully
I can’t remember which I noticed first
The smell of sulfur or the smoke
But when the reddish purple demon-thingies
Flexed their wings and turned our way
We ran, and we will NOT go back, uh-uh

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