On Pondering Thoreau’s Ants

On Pondering Thoreau’s Ants


Red and black class on a battlefield
near Walden Pond.
Thoreau treads among the dead
on page ninety-four
of an American lit textbook.

Sixty teenage eyeballs roll in their sockets.
“Why would anyone watch ants fight
for hours on end?”

More important:
“Why must we still read about it?”

This solitary dreamer deliberates
tenacity, atrocities, total destruction
as a mindless world falls apart around him.

And somewhere, still,
he must be pondering these young wanderers
as they drown like ants in honey
in his secondhand hut.

From the back row near an open window,
thumbs drum the top of a desk
like a cadence out of time.

Published in Main Street Rag, 2009


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