1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. Ants by Joanie Mackowski
Ants

Related Poem Content Details

Two wandering across the porcelain
Siberia, one alone on the window sill,

four across the ceiling's senseless field
of pale yellow, one negotiating folds

in a towel: tiny, bronze-colored, antennae
'strongly elbowed,' crawling over Antony

and Cleopatra, face down, unsurprised,
one dead in the mountainous bar of soap.

Sub-family Formicinae (a single
segment behind the thorax), the sickle

moons of their abdomens, one trapped in bubbles
(I soak in the tub); with no clear purpose

they come in by the baseboard, do not bite,
crush bloodless beneath a finger. Peterson's

calls them 'social creatures,' yet what grim
society: identical pilgrims,

seed-like, brittle, pausing on the path
only three seconds to touch another's

face, some hoisting the papery carcasses
of their dead in their jaws, which open and close

like the clasp of a necklace. 'Mating occurs
in flight'— what better way? Weightless, reckless

rapture: the winged queen and her mate, quantum
passion spiraling near the kumquat,

and then the queen sheds her wings, plants
the pearl-like larvae in their cribs of sand:

more anvil-headed, creeping attentions
to follow cracks in the tile, the lip of the tub,

and one starting across the mirror now, doubled.

Source: Poetry

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the April 2000 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Ants

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information