Nothing is more important to the ant
whose exoskeleton has been breached
by mushroom spores that are now
controlling his nervous system
and compelling him to climb to a high leaf
only to die and release the spores
over the whole forest
than this poem about his sad plight.
Otherwise his life is meaningless.
Forage. Chew. Recognize by scent.
Abdication of the will. A huge wind
that comes and sweeps his fellows
off the grass. When he dies up there
in the treetops the mushroom grows
right out of his head and breaks open
lightly dusting the afternoon.
Everything he thought he was here
on Earth to do has been left undone.
Through the trees
the spores move on their sinister ways.
I put down the science magazine written
for elementary school kids
in which I have briefly disappeared.
From Surrounded by Friends, published by Wave Books. Copyright © 2015, by Matthew Rohrer. Reprinted with permission by The Permissions Company, on behalf of Wave Books.
You're sitting at a small bay window in an empty café by the sea. It's nightfall, and the owner is locking up, though you're still hunched over the radiator, which is slowly losing warmth. Now you're walking down to the shore to watch the last blues fading on the waves. You've lived in small houses, tight spaces— the walls around you kept closing in— but the sea and the sky were also yours. No one else is around to drink with you from the watery fog, shadowy depths. You're alone with the whirling cosmos. Goodbye, love, far away, in a warm place. Night is endless here, silence infinite.
From The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems by Edward Hirsch. Copyright © 2010 by Edward Hirsch. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf.
Between each vertebra
is the through line
of your life’s story,
where the setting sun
has burned all colors
into the cord. Step
over. Put on the dark
shirt of stars.
A full moon rises
over the breathing field,
seeps into clover and the brown
lace of its roots
where insects are resting
their legs. Take in the view.
So much is still
to be seen. Get back
behind your back, behind
what is behind you.
From The Breathing Field (Little, Brown and Co., 2002). Copyright © 2002 by Wyatt Townley. Used with permission of the author.