Poetry Fiction 2011

Paper Wasps

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Gaza

In the corner of my door, two
wattled a nest—
no bigger than my thumb
but gray and dense
as a cinder-block slum.

Each hexacomb throbbed
with an egg, its wary
parents tense and flexing
like posed threats, stingers
ready as triggers.

I didn’t blame them. This
is peace—or close
as we get. I’d slide out the side door,
to see it last. But by August,
there were thirty, then more.

I ceded this corner
and they seemed agreed,
but each night that passed
before the mask and the Raid,
they swarmed my dreams.

Ted Genoways’s most recent collection is Anna, Washing (2008). He edits the Virginia Quarterly Review.
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