Richard T. Rauch was born and raised in the suburbs of New Orleans and currently lives along Bayou Lacombe in southeast Louisiana. A physicist by training, he tests rockets that may one day enable human explorers to escape Earth’s orbit and fly to Mars and beyond. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in California Quarterly, Hotel Amerika, Many Mountains Moving, Milk Money, The Oxford American, Quiddity, and Slow Trains.
drone ≡ the male of a bee that has no sting and gathers no honey.
—Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
Drones droning drones collect in cartilage folds, beat their way down auditory canals abuzz, stinging the middle ear to life, droning hammer, anvil, and stirrup to full swing pings, resonating banal, smithy drones droning conga lines of tympanic pressure waves pulsing in drones droning like ocean echoes spiraling through the cochlea’s conch, droning the organs of corti in hair-raising, electrified drones droning timbreless in tides of neuronic discharges, tingling the thalamus, moronic drones droning up through the cerebellum and over the banks of the temporal lobes to rattle around in the auditory cortex all a-drone, droning to parse endless drones droning monotones, while on the visual front, drones drone at light speed, photonic swarms emanating from droning bovine-faced drones droning to distraction in refraction through corneas, lenses, their blank, ventriloquist-lipped stares droning persistent reddening images, absorbed by rods and cones too numerous to count, droning in inverted retinal detachment, ganglia lighting up, parallel processing data droning down optic nerves into the hypothalamus, over the droning optic chasm, contrast indecipherable, barely registering in the occipital lobe or projecting across the visual cortex, drones droning auditory and visual impulses, mixing now, crisscrossing among the brain’s convoluted flowerets with karmic indifference, oozing into the pleasure centers, triggering a hive of drones droning beneath the cerebral cortex into the deepest reaches of the cerebrum—beaches, lavender, lost loves, a Vera Wang scent, faces without names, nightlights, wet sheets, falling—drones droning hormonal hot flashes shivering the spine, autonomic drones droning fight or flight, eyes darting left and right, lashes droning SOSes, drones droning, epileptically tensing to hold a straight face, drones reflexively droning, prefrontal cortex numbing, droning to post-lobotomy serenity, nascent, pre-dementia plaques tightening ever so slightly to the drones droning irritant, until a new, hybridized drone begins its own drone, droning along to join that certain, resigned, slumping, stiff-arm, full-circle, tucked-wing, rhythmless dance, droning a one-note harmony of sensuous submission, without a sting, no thirst for nectar, no will to fly, gathering no honey, a one-in-a-million drone droning on in parasitic bliss until his time comes to service the next, new queen ascending to her rightful drone, drones droning...