Alone At Lunch
A kid, I’d scoop at anthills with a jar.
I’d watch the chaos through clear glass,
screwing the lid of their tomb closed.
Hours later, I’d marvel at what got built
while I was away: a filigree of tunnels
marbled with anxious motion.
Time itself seemed cruel. Not me.
I could barely stand to leave them.
But once I did,
the divided colony found its order.
One part instinct, another survival,
the ants had lifted themselves by lifting
whatever stood in their blind way.
Until after sorting through grains of grit
and burying their dead,
the ants in the jar
somehow made a home again,
there in the hell I’d sealed them in.
Eating alone in the courtyard, yesterday—
or rather, sitting alone, feeding the ants—
I pretended I was a mountain in their landscape.
Then a benevolent god, dolling out crumbs.
I silently cheered the monsters on, amazed
by nature’s resilience.
If I had faith, I could overcome this.
If I had a hive, a queen. If I had one soldier
I might know what to do, or who to follow.
And if I looked up and saw the hand of God
I might no longer have blamed Him
for what was made, already broken.
Instead, I closed my eyes and imagined
a world simplified by disaster.
One in which love is something I could carry —
either with me, always,
or out of my damned way.