Paper Wasps

By Ted Genoways

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/08/paper-wasps/308570/