Poetry - Issue 16 | October 2012

The Leaf Cutter Ants

by Pepper


The Leaf-Cutter Ants

Aloft in our jaws we hold the world
Disassembled, slice by slice, into pieces
Fitted to our use, carried forward
Blindly, one behind the other, in a line
Wavering and unceasing, among
Vines, stones, waterdrops and rainpools
All merely things, things in the way
We move forever on with our burden of green
Toward our city in the earth, the red
Towers and deep shafts, the dark
Chambers where the green will blacken
And grow our fungal bread, the end
Of all those thousand leaves and flowers
Cut and carried and buried by us
The one food for which every day
We take the world apart


About the author

Trail is an ornithologist, photographer, natural history guide, and poet. His work has taken him around the world, with time living in Panama, Suriname, American Samoa, and Vietnam.  Recent memorable trips include a circumnavigation of the Black Sea, and an inspection of crocodile farms in the Mekong Delta.  His poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Borderlands, Comstock Review, Kyoto Journal and Spillway.

More in the archive »