Buck-Shot Yellow Jackets

Skylar Rush

My lost things, these two.

What you wish to be listening to,

it finds you and darkens the darkness.

Skeletal tulip tree branches, enriching a soundscape

more cruel by far than thunder—the warning you doubt, 

though you cannot afford the doubt. They remember. I know they do.

The dark monstering, the dark deviling, the whispering in-

breath echo of subvocal expression. The soaked things

shivered. I took their heads in my hands and

their eyes had brightened with fear-joy. The

one asked, “Will there be some music?”

The other said, “You could hear

how cold it was.” Dampening

my chest, it reaches you 

through the 


you have


“Have you





Then came the quiet.

“Three,” said the one, stirred.

“Two,” said the other, burbling.

There was a sucking-through-teeth sound, the

sounds that did not take the shape of words. Reverberating

tickatickas, cuck-cuck calls, bowel-guttering stridulations, sonic markers

of any kind. Ultrasonic, too high to be audible. The scornful echoes. Slapped.

“And of what temperature were the sounds?” I asked as I

evaluated what I collected; what I collected is poetry

that degenerated to science under my successful

scrutiny and reverted to song under my failing

love. The commentary stung like

buck-shot yellow jackets, like

adults betraying children,

the screams, the moans,

the creaks, the bone-

scraping vertigo-

inducing thumps.

No music? No

creation of 

timbre? Of

lifts and

breaks in


It will

be a 



Skylar Rush is a writer, poet, and musician based in the swamp-filled sliver of the United States that is too far south to have a twang, and too far north to be accepted by the Caribbean. He embraces this unique Florida experience through poetry, prose, and music which focuses on the cultural medley and natural splendor of his home state. The quirks, pitfalls, joys, and rhythms of the natural world and the human existence captivate Skylar, and he aims to provide a multi-genre reflection of the world around him. He currently studies in the Creative Writing MFA program at University of Central Florida and resides in Sanford, Florida.