my father was a fighter

he had the scars to prove it

but the toughest person i know

was my grandmother

she and her sister lived alone

surviving by washing, ironing, sewing for others

using fire heated washing kettles

irons warmed on the stove

one day a nest of yellow jackets was found

in a porch corner above the swing

my grandmother rolled newspaper

into a makeshift torch

lit it with a kitchen match

marched up and burned the evil little bastards

the smoking nest fell to the boards

grandma stamped it flat

then kicked it into the roses

she smiled at me

then went inside back to her work

i think she was a zen master

Copyright Michael Douglas Scott