MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

Ants In The Pants

The colony of ants who (which?)
were happy up until recently
eating away at the gatepost
have braved it up the path to
the doorstep where
the four a.m. milkman deposits
the milk and bottled juice; it must have been
an exciting discovery, the bottles all dewy, cool,
in the early mist of dawn and
a promising ring of sweet liquid
just below the aluminium caps of some

so as I pick up the bottles, bleary-eyed,
some bold mountaineers
hitch a hike to foreign lands
which they regret. The first one such
finished up on the steel sink-top –
a pathetic sight out of Kafka or Orwell,
the worker out of work scurrying
more and more hysterically,
up and down in search of company, of work,
disorientated, frantic; I brushed him,
her, or it, onto the floor in the vague belief
that ants and floors had more in common and
could sort it out between them.

The second put a cap on schoolboy jokes,
making its presence known just as
I lowered my pants upon the toilet seat…
black trousers at that – I was as frantic
in my antics, as that first ant on the draining-board.
Perhaps some kind of retribution.

The third turned up on my arm, as I sat like this
at the computer..this time I was in care-for-all-things mood
and hoped to tray it on a piece of paper
back to its team – it wasn’t having any,
skedaddled, almost jumped I’ll swear,
off to this foreign floor that is not ever antland..

Maybe it was the same one which just now
turned up on my arm again here, three times
resisting brushing off until I, ungraciously, succeeded. And then
I felt guilty, repentant,

An old man on creaky knees,
searching in the poorest light
on a dark gray carpet
for a small, reddish-brown ant.

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Comments (1)

I don't know if they are whiches or whos either, but I do know that I got into a bed of fire ants just the other day. Sneaky little fellows that they are, I was covered before I even knew they were there, and I wound up doing a dance about my yard that must have had the neighbors talking about the little old gray haired lady shucking her pants in her yard! !