The first ants of the season are spilling out onto the sidewalk Warmed by the unexpected sunshine. There are so many of them They look like upturned earth, like someone took a stick And carefully scraped dirt onto the sidewalk in a pile So thickly spread you can’t see the pavement beneath.
My daughter asks me if they’re fire ants, wonders If she would be stripped to the bone like a cow she saw on TV If she stood in the middle of the pile and let them swarm over her. I tell her no, but stay away anyway, There’s too many there to know for sure what they’ll do.
The newspaper makes me angry and I prepare myself for a day of punching Nazis. I read about the local museum being infiltrated by white supremacists and so I plan my day around a visit uptown. My daughter asks me where we’re going and I tell her we’re going to fuck some shit up.
I keep my eyes peeled for guys with shaved heads and swastika pins combat boots and iron crosses but I don’t see any. Someone says something kind of racist on the bus next to me and I look at them but then they shut up as if they know what’s in my head.
The clump of dirt comes up, half-frozen revealing the sleepers beneath the snow: a tiny purple centipede, the thick white bodies of beetle larvae, unspecific maggots.
In my position of power, I consider destroying them all in their sleep, because I can’t tell what these things will pupate into if they’re something that will fatally drain my flowerbed or perhaps just fertilize and helpfully propagate.
My daughter joins me, on her knees coos into the hole: “Baby bugs! I always wondered!” starts imagining aloud what these indistinct, clawed worms will look like when their wings burst forth what colors they’ll become, the sounds they’ll make
and if they’ll visit her bedroom window on some far-off, summer night.
Sometimes when you’re too rough I’m afraid you’re trying to kill me, but then I don’t know if I mind. I don’t know how I want to die, which specific way I would pick if offered a selection of possible calamities but I suspect
that if being suffocated against your chest as you crested, oblivious to my flailing fists my squeals of indignation my inevitable silence, the suspicious stillness was one of the choices on that hypothetical list it would probably be up there in my top ten choices.