by Cathryn Hankla

I cripple some ants.
I don’t mean to, but I do.
Others I squash flat
Leaving one liquid dot
Beneath each creature
Like a wandering third eye,
A floating caste mark.

I fear ants in my food.
They terrorize with quizzical
Patterns, tiny hammers,
Wood screws. They invite
Free-loaders to freckle my floors,
Doorways, drains,
Banana skins, bare toes.

I slip ten corpora delicti
Into a business envelope,
Bless them, seal their paper
Tomb with kisses, tiny and wet,
Iron the paste with my fist,
Address it to
What doesn’t return.

CATHRYN HANKLA’s the author of eleven books of poetry and fiction, including Last Exposures: a sequence of poems and Fortune Teller Miracle Fish: stories. She is Professor of English & Susan Gager Jackson Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University.