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This poem is taken from PN Review 166, Volume 32 Number 2, November - December 2005.

Three Poems John McAuliffe

The Reconstruction

He arrived as contracted and set to work.
Mindful that the place was a longstanding wreck

And the alcoves, long partitioned and let, were illegal,
He attacked first the east wing's living room wall. The hammer fell

And in caved the ceiling's once-white plaster so the room was taller
As well as wider but what was hidden by the plaster

Were four wasps' nests, two broken so the combs
Showed layered like a cross section of skin with black flumes.

The others were different streaked brown and grey eggs
From which the wasps curled out like smoke or flags

Unfurling even as the young man, the hired help, froze,
Claw hammer in hand, facing something, in the dust, that settled and rose.

The Quarry

after Ronsard and for Barty Begley

Just like a deer for whom the April sun

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