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Joanie Mackowski

By This Poet

2

Ants [excerpt]

Two wandering across the porcelain
Siberia, one alone on the window sill,

four across the ceiling's senseless field
of pale yellow, one negotiating folds

in a towel: tiny, bronze-colored antennae
"strongly elbowed," crawling over Antony

and Cleopatra, face down, unsurprised,
one dead in the mountainous bar of soap.

Sub-family Formicinae (a single
segment behind the thorax), the sickle
moons of their abdomens, one trapped in bubbles
(I soak in the tub); with no clear purpose

they come in by the baseboard, do not bite,
crush bloodless beneath a finger. Peterson's

calls them "social creatures," yet what grim
society: identical pilgrims...

View from a Temporary Window

Follow the wrecking ball: in a month, it will smash
into this glass

like that housefly. A blueprint unfolds on a table
beside an orchid doubled-

over with white blooms, and out the window, just half a bridge
dives into the front page

of a newspaper the neighbor lifts from her balcony.
Partial to more, we're beckoned

outward, beyond the foundation: and a new picture
window will jut

over the cliff to frame all the Golden Gate's
red seismograph, which cuts

through the fog to the headlands. In a year, in wingback chairs
we'll sit in the air

high above those tiny people strolling
the crumbling sill

down on Bay Street, out there where the orchid's reflection
hovers with a flock of gulls.