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Duane Locke


Black Ants

Tiny black ants played tiny black flutes in the undergrowth.
Melodies came from the tall grasses.
She said she heard Gregorian chants.
I said, "No, ants are normal and natural, not neurotics."
I said, "I heard waltzes from old Vienna."
She inquired, "How can black flutes play the music
Of joie de vivre."
I told her to ask the black ants playing black flutes.
She asked the ants.  The ants laughed,
Replied, "Because we love the earth;
Do not hate the earth as monks do."
She arose from her chair,
Ran out of the garden.




The tom-tom river
Puts its green-veined,
Drum-beating hands
Into its backpockets,
Sends up threads of solitude
To start in the sky over us a tapestry.
The thread is red,
Given by a sunken tree
Who unbuttoned her bark
To let the bark flow away
To rooms of salt.
The next thread is silver,
Given by the scales of a silver-eyed fish.
Soon the sky above us
Will be a silver and red tapestry
Of solitude,
Teach us a new language.


Duane Locke is Professor Emeritus of the Humanities and poet in residence at the University of Tampa. He has had poetry published in print and online journals including American Poetry Review, Nation, Literary Quarterly, Black Moon, and Bitter Oleander. His latest book is Watching Wisteria (Vida Press).

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