Aesop as Existentialist
 
       They’d  suffered through a devastating season,
       And many larvae died from lack of food.
       The queen, as well, grew thin for this same reason,
       Thus forcing all the workers to conclude
 
       That they must now begin to forage harder,
       For they had made their choice to live, not die;
       So Nameless Ant sought out a human larder,
       Deciding dangerous households worth a try.
 
       A water pipe became a speedy road
       That led him to a kitchen countertop,
       To find to his surprise a mother lode  
       Of nourishment, some syrup —just a drop
 
       Upon on a one-inch square of plasterboard,
       A lovely picnic lunch laid out for ants;
       Resourceful Nameless knew he couldn’t afford
       Delay —not even tasting, this gallant,
 
       Exuding formic acid trail, sped back
       From kitchen countertop to tell the rest;
       And all but larvae-sitters sniffed his track,
      To find the food and take it to the nest.      
 
      So Nameless now was almost deified;
     They named him Amos, cheered and dined —but soon
     One ant ceased eating, fetal-curled and died,
     And then another. Then they seemed to swoon
 
     By scores, while live ones, paying no attention,
     Ate on. Soon all expired whom he had led,
     And he, still basking in his quick ascension,
     Continued basking —till he too had fed.

(2001)

Rhyme, narrative

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