Save the Ants!

Save the Ants!

A Poem by Michelle


Inching down my news feed
tiny brown baby butts
sit in the arms of white girls experiencing a mid twenties crisis.
An album labeled,
Africa
No
Country
No
Name,
Is layered with pictures of bloated bellies and faceless actors in a Facebook lifetime series called "Jesus Loves The Little Children"
Sandwiched between memes and mental health updates.
It reminds me of the time
my 5 year old self laid flat.
My pale tummy scratching against the cool concrete.
I watched the tiny little ants run in and out of their homes.
At first, I was just fascinated.
I wanted to know what they knew.
What could those little ant brains be thinking?
I could only assume,
only imagine.
I rolled too far to my left trying to get a glimpse of their remarkable but unfamiliar world.
I rolled back to find a dark spot pressed to my hip.
I screamed and panicked unaware of the hundreds of ants that had died by my doing in my short five year life span.
I had stomped their homes and families countless times before,
playing basketball and drawing my name in sidewalk chalk.
I had ridden in the car unaware of the tires rolling over the same hill twice in just the last week.
This time was different.
This time it hurt me
I couldn't let my new ant friend die not after all the time and effort I put in watching them grow.
I made a grass bed and gently placed the motionless ant on it.
I waited and watched,
but the little black speck of a creature was dead.
In that moment,
that last little baby ant breath,
I decided to dedicate my life to saving the tiny lives that occupied my driveway.
I would be the doctor
the teacher
the preacher
the president
of the ant race.
I surveyed my driveway for ants in need
and found
none.
I laid back down and watched.
I saw an ant stroll past my arm.
Pretending to not know what I was doing, I dropped my forearm to meet the edges of the earth
conveniently nicking the leg of a friendly passerby.
“OH NO”
I thought, pretending to not know what I had done.
Preparing the grass bed,
even grabbing a cracker from the cupboard,
I once again
watched and waited.
It squirmed and wriggled,
afraid,
I tried to comfort it with soothing songs and smiles,
but it wasn’t long before there was no soul to sing to.
I got up with a sick feeling in my gut.
They were doing just fine without me.
“Dinner Time”
The gut feeling became a full tummy,
mashed potatoes and gravy,
white privilege and steamed veggies.

© 2016 Michelle


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GAP
A nice corollary! I like the idea of the "do-gooders" mucking things up as well as the idea that the "ants" only need freedom to go about their business without hate or help. I think the negative phrasing detracts from the poem's power. For example, I rolled too far to the left to glimpse, would be more powerful without the embedded excuse: I rolled to glimpse...I decided to dedicate my life, could be simply, I dedicated my life...When all these flourishes are removed, the piece becomes more powerful.
Pretending not to know what I was doing, could be eliminated altogether. Leave something for the readers to figure out.

Posted 1 Year Ago



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Added on May 6, 2016
Last Updated on May 6, 2016

Author

Michelle
Michelle

St. Paul, MN



About
I am a 23 year old English teacher. I live in Twin Cities. I enjoy writing of all kinds. I am currently writing a novel but I also write shirt stories and poetry. It all depends on what inspires me in.. more..

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