Western Civ 101

The ant tracks of time            look like footbridges   
made of hyphens        (3 or 4 hyphens per bridge)
black and white rainbows       archways above
phrases like diacritics      over bottles and jars
(these items out of focus, soft focus, just nouns)
—similar to a breve ŏ or an inverted breve ô,
a Latin small letter with circumflex, or a macron with grave ṑ.

The ant tracks of time         appear near a thesis statement,
above a wall of description     a corridor of narration
near a subtitle         over the door frame to an example:
college students taking a summer course read an essay
on noise and distraction by Seneca
                    when a bridge of hyphens
appears on the third line. It’s followed by a bridge
over the second phrase in the twenty sixth, I cannot
for the life of me coming long after I have lodgings right over
a public bathhouse, which is separated by months
from see that quiet is as necessary to a person   
as it is usually thought to be, the order different in time,
sequence of writing, sequence of reading,
as a jackhammer pounds and a crane lifts steel rafters
into a skyscraper, a new dorm under construction,
a giant statue of a tyrant is erected by a 100 slaves
in the crowded streets of Rome. Dust on sandals.
                                                    During bridge repair,
the ants cross
a plank over
the construction site
to a small hole
in the stanza
of a vacant lot
leading to an underground crossword puzzle
of tunnels & dens,     razed & redacted rooms,
repressed & collective corridors          an alternative textbook,
an anthology of excerpts        adding to their stash:
i) the image of a head fallen from a statue
ii) the axle of a torched motive
iii) a cornice of a stone statement
and are supervised by the white ant that patrols
the rows, Control Alt Delete—
                                      warrior ants, explorer ants,
diplomat ants, teaching assistant ants, sales representative
ants, dietician ants, second cousin ants, pastor ants, actor ants,
architect ants, seamstress and tailor ants, high school sweetheart ants,
mercenary ant, beautician ants, translator ant, editor ants,
shoe store clerk ants, a fat June bug, street cleaner ant,
a bee on its back, waiter ants, mandibles of predatory lending, 
police tape between pinchers. Fun fact: 

Seneca was the tutor of Nero who requested his suicide
& Seneca submitted his resignation in a bathtub,
not as bad as suffocating minor enemies in rose petals?

From Battle of Silicon Valley at Daybreak (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022). Copyright © 2022 by Alexandria Peary. Used with permission of the author.