When I step on the anthill, the grains roll across my foot with all the grace
of fine desert sand. I find a flatness when I expect burn—remembering
the fire ants back home, how they climbed up my little legs. I have carried
that bite and itch with me forever. In my thick pine forest mornings, in my
white apartment nights. In every lonely summer afternoon. The black ants
pour out of the warm ground like sugar. I am full of water and the impulse
to kick. I spit on the grass, kissing the hot air. My latest kiss. An erasure.
I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ANTS BUT HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT I IMAGINE
When ants go out and forage for sugar,
they go on a walk together,
their slick black bodies arranged neatly
into an embroidery thread
or a strand of black hair on this patch of red earth.
They balance fruit on their heads and move
across the gingham blanket
in this watermelon summer
without swaying on their tiny little legs.
Instinct is its own kind of path,
it leaves an imperceptible smell
in a straight line
towards the things we live for.
Fact: ant queens can live for thirty years.
The workers around her die like long days.
The only work is more making.