Sweat bee; light, ephemeral, almost fruity,
a tiny spark has singed a single hair
on your arm. Fire ant; sharp, sudden, mildly
alarming, like walking across a shag
carpet and reaching for the light switch.
Bullhorn acacia ant; a rare, piercing,
elevated sort of pain. Someone
has fired a staple into your cheek.
Bald-faced hornet; rich, hearty, slightly crunchy,
getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
Yellowjacket, hot and smoky, almost
irreverent, imagine W. C. Fields
extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
Honey bee and European hornet;
a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.
Red harvester ant; bold and unrelenting,
somebody is using a drill
to excavate your ingrown toenail.
Paper wasp, caustic and burning. Like
spilling a beaker of hydrochloric
acid on a paper cut. Blinding, fierce,
shockingly electric, a running hair drier
has been dropped into your bubble bath.
Bullet ant; pure, intense, brilliant pain.
Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal
with a three-inch rusty nail in your heel.
From the examples of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index on Wikipedia. A few words removed to aid scansion: ‘Similar to’ (line 10); ‘Like a’ (15); ‘distinctly bitter aftertaste’ (19); ‘Tarantula hawk:’ (21). Punctuation amended. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.