One Poem by Cate Lycurgus

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I’m about to break and—enter
the ants
stealing in through some side passage,
hoisting larvae

onto their backs, looting labor, with no
time to hatch
an escape plan; to boot—the kidnapped 
give off

a crayon-melt smell, a square tip-off and
once conscript,
it’s always hell—so let it begin, enter.
The ants know

a just-off color of chitin, when kink
in antenna’s a little
different, and what servants do not ache
for a part

of the renaissance they make—muralled
walls and clockwork
halls, a colony that grows and conquers

its queendom, revival-style—I, too, want
mansions, dream, and so
enter the ants’ cabal as they bid
each to hasten,

tend, send out more citizens, go & raid,
return with laden backs.
Though the servants fear their own pheromones—
in the only homes

they’ve ever known, (plenty of room but no
vacancy), I can’t see
how this can be, with compound eyes

color how impossibly bound to black and white
our dreams are




Cate LycurgusCate Lycurgus’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Tin House, Orion, and elsewhere. A 2014 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Finalist, she has also received scholarships from Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. Cate lives south of San Francisco, California, where she interviews for 32 Poems and teaches professional writing. You can find her at www.catelycurgus.com

Header photo by Tanes Ngamsom, courtesy Shutterstock.

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