Rochelle Ratner

Look at it this way: she has a headache. She's from
Atlantic City and she likes to gamble. She's bought
and sold on e-bay, just like the woman in the paper.
She has no son, though. Just this migraine,
unceasing for forty years now. She could never
mother a child with this, she counts herself lucky if
she survives a weekend with her current lover
without having to lie down, wet teabags on her
eyelids. Botox was the only thing that helped, those
little needles piercing her head so carefully she
barely felt them. But her insurance refuses to pay for
Botox. Sure, she could get a $1000 loan, but that
would only cover one treatment. What would she do
three months later, then again in another three or
four months? Tattoos are permanent.
She thinks, if she positions her chair directly beneath
the wasp nest, maybe she won't be stung. The
wasps have been around all summer, but today's the
first day she's found the nest, on the side porch,
right beside the light fixture. Wasps go in and out
from the little hole, but the nest itself is as large as
her head, perhaps. She remembers how to get rid of
wasps - you have to wait until evening, when they're
all inside the nest, and then bomb it. Or is it in the
morning? The word bomb troubles her. She wonders
if it's radioactive, if its nuclear. Does this mean she'll
never have a family?