Barbara Black and Jonathan Ottke

Jonathan Ottke
“Paper Wasp”
Inspiration piece

Sullen Season
after Polistes dominula
By Barbara Black

Mist limns a still pond. Snails
idle. Liminal. Pallid sun seeps into us.
Silent minutes pass, as outside, moist moss listens
to its planet. Old dull mind-moon, on it spins, slant.

Author’s note: The structure of the poem echoes the structure of the paper wasp nest: a single six-sided cell surrounded by six other hexagons, or one six-beat line followed by 3 lines of 6 + 6 beats each. Also, the poem uses only letters from the Latin name of the paper wasp—Polistes dominula—and uses only each word once.


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