Hand-Forged Scorpion by Andrey; for more information, visit

On Finding a Scorpion in Our Bedroom

by Taylor Byas

Smaller than your pinkie
finger, about the size of the tampon
applicator topping off
the bedroom’s mesh waste basket—
the scorpion froze in the sherbert-orange
glow of the bedside
lamp, a little black lowercase “t”
that had fallen on its back.
It waited right below
the two-dollar map taped to the wall,
the swollen dots of the big cities
speared with mismatched
thumb-tacks, the ones you’d never
visit with me.
And when I screamed
your name, you snaked
into the bedroom—
wordless, ill-prepared—
and followed my finger to the spot
beside the tufted headboard,
where the low light
magnified the painted bulb
of its tail in the shadows.
You slid your fingertips into your front
jean pockets—thumbs out
like a hitchhiker—
and just eyed the damn thing, squinted
and tilted your head from side
as if waiting for it to mirror
you, as if knowing
you were seeing yourself.

About Taylor Byas

Taylor Byas is a fun-sized Chicago native. She’s spent her last six years in Birmingham, Alabama, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is currently a first-year PhD student, poet, and Yates Scholar at the University of Cincinnati. Her work appears or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, The Journal,storySouth, and others.Draft