Black Ants

By Fay Dillof

Featured Art: Crumpled and Withered Leaf Edge Mimicking Caterpillar (study for book Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom) by Emma Beach Thayer

Unable to sleep,
I imagine a blob
of ants, erupting
from a faucet.

If they puddle,
that will mean sleep.

But if each ant
descends on a crumb,
steals what it can
and lumbers robotically off,
which they do,
branching in veins across the tile floor,
then I’m left
listening to the sound
of my two sisters
in the summer kitchen
where they’re making
my mother laugh
without me
carrying their prize
over invisible trails.

Fay Dillof’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, Green Mountain Review, FIELD, Barrow Street, Rattle, Gettysburg Review, Verse Daily and elsewhere. She has been awarded the Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry and The Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry, as well as been the receipt of an Adirondack Center for Writing’s Anne LaBastille Memorial Writers Residency, and scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

Originally published in Issue 19.

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