by Michael Odom (January 2019)
Ants, Mircea Constantinescu
The Colony Crosses a Stream
Ants build bridges from bodies; bolts of rigor
Mortis and half-drowning ant clasps.
Like philosophies. Live souls walk on corpses
Over never-ending crisis,
Paving impermanence with a host of either/ors,
If/thens, ands, and first premises.
Rigid tenets. Antennae. Ants lose their grips,
Break or drop from even ant dreams.
Which of the ants…? How could ants know which is
The shore worth death, worth bridging seems
For need of is?
The Ants at War
Degrees to clouds,
Girded to sky and earth,
A human mound. Scaling the side:
Reel in the wind,
Air, like fear, like panicked blind canes:
A din of points
Of harpsichord tapping
In the mite’s ear. The ants at war,
Larvae in tombs,
We have lived out ant lives,
Lived out life on the floor in dirt,
Like men through tires,
The ants work through the weave—
Broad red, broad white, vast blue—or stand
Tires in time and stops
Still and blind in shadow and space.
Ant. The closed ranks
And larvae underneath
Have never known this chemical.
With no army.
Worker with no work.
Carpenter, no queen. Forager,
To beetles, timpani
To mites, stampeding ballet troupes,
Bite skin that’s bone.
Drag sinew from your teeth.
Heads walk nude on sticks in a row.
Mad with feelers,
Stands in the canopy
Of blades and flowers, alert,
From the tunnels,
From the body traffic
Of queen and ground, in the cyclone
Comes down the hole.
And the goddess of bugs
Floats with her faithful foragers.
Arc like gentle
Horizons, grades are hills,
Mountains are plains, drips of sweat, ponds.
Michael Odom is an American poet and translator, the author of a collection of ekphrastic cinquains for children entitled Ick! Fran’s Tick!, a book of translation from Catalan, Count Arnau & Other Poems of Joan Maragall, and his own collection of poems playing on the rhythms & themes of Catullus, Selene.
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast
- Love This
- Yahoo Mail
- Facebook Messenger
- Copy Link