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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Poems: 61 words
  64 words
+ Visual Art: Painting [R]
By Serena Agusto-Cox

Two Ekphrastic Poems

Metal on wood, 
music heard by the planers alone, 
the song of their work 
a whistle of destruction, 
the precursor to creation. 

soiled wood curls 
a thin pile of memory. 

Dancers learned grand jeté— 
a leap of faith 
nearly broke their ankles. 

Smooth, light wood reveals 
a surface ready for younger ingénue 
willing to bruise, painful 
practice for perfection. 



Les raboteurs de parquet (The Floor Planers), painting by Gustave Caillebotte

The Floor Planers (1875) by Gustave Caillebotte*


Curls of wood scraped 
an extension of sinewy muscle 
pulled back, raised up, pulled 
repetitive motion, creating filigree. 

Planers unaware of the choreography. 

They joke, drink, laugh, and grouse; 
the work is art, oiled wood 
made smooth, renewed 
a blank slate waiting for pointe. 

One man watches, slyly soaks up knowledge 
his scrapes small, tentative 
an apprentice learning plié 
before graduating to fouette. 



*Both poems are based on Les raboteurs de parquet (The Floor Planers), an oil on canvas painting (1875) by Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894). Image above is reproduced from Wikimedia Commons; link retrieved on 16 December 2020.

Serena Agusto-Cox,
Issue 6, January 2021

a Suffolk University alum, relies on an editing job to feed her family, but you can find her creative work in Dissonance, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Broadkill Review, Dime Show Review, Baseball Bard, Mothers Always Write, Bourgeon, The Hill Rag, and other journals. Two poems appear in The Plague Papers anthology, three poems in Love_Is Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens, an essay in H.L. Hix’s Made Priceless, and a Q&A on book marketing via blogs in Midge Raymond’s Everyday Book Marketing. She founded a book-review blog, Savvy Verse & Wit, and Poetic Book Tours to help poets market their books.

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