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and so, in need of work. But I like the contours.

[cayo hueso]

Deconstruction of the Ant Hill

On the sill a pile of sand as
though the beach had come to visit,
and on it, thousands of golden
lithe-bodied ants fidgeted and
jittered, waving antennae and
pawing the air more forcefully
than any foam-flecked battle horse.
Across the wide expanse of wooden
plank, three golden soldiers dragged one
large black-bodied, full-bellied queen.
And through the brown mill on the stairs
that curled around the central shaft
the mournful hum of servant tykes
who hand one to one buckets
filled with syrup or water up
to some hidden destination.

Here's what happened:
In panic, the heavy bottomed
glass bowl came down on the trekking
four. The fat black ant was smashed flat
as the boards themselves, a mere stain
for future pondering. And with
that motion the mill was freed. The sound
slowed then stopped and though the buckets
went awhile, they too slowed then stopped
and the dazed children turned and stared,
golden eyes filling with hot [fat?] tears
that did not spill. They stood, stock-still
on the stairs that circled the shaft
and waited in the weighty air
of the close summer day, as women
in bonnets last seen a century
ago entered, through a small pane
of light and led them two by two
away. The mournful sound settled
into the brown wood and the stairway
emptied into light.

A mere draft, but vividly seen and felt. Much to be done, but mostly tweaking--it says all it was meant to say, and what that might be, I leave up to you.

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Like the second stanza with lines like "stain for future pondering".

Also liked how you could start it so unprententiously: "Here is what happened:". It's disarming.

"with hot [fat?] tears" is well said; "hot tears" is a cliche but the [fat?] is redemptive.

Also liked the "trekking four" with its resonance with "threshing floor".



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 18, 2008 7:26 AM.

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