“Where is your child?” she asked the dark creature, following the eyeless body with the tip of her cherry stained popsicle stick. Splinters ripped her prepubescent lips, blood dripping on the back of ants marching to the sea. The big one – she must be the leader – bulbous headed, looked at her and smiled, rows of perfect white teeth gleamed in the radiance of the sweltering red sun. She was at that place, forever squatting, while the hem of her pink pinafore soaked up the murky water, while the brigade of other-world creatures paraded by. A single column of shiny black legs, chants rising into the thick Carolinian air - “Rise up Sisters. Fight not alone. Again and Again. Uninvited go home!” It’s crazy she thought, when everyone knows the ant came over under a rock buried deep in the belly of the Niña. “My sister’s up there,” the giant one spit out and raised her massive head toward the hanging bridge swinging above the concrete culvert. As she climbed the first of the thousand stairs, she noticed the ant scars on her legs. She remembers the time the ants attacked her boy. Her boy, her firstborn, was two when these monsters breathed their fire onto his tender, pale shins. She remembers his screams and how they invaded her entire body; ants finding every archway, every corridor. Puss oozed from his pores for days. She remembers how she wanted to go back. She wanted to dig up their fertile nest, encase them in her plastic nest. She wanted to nourish them and watch over their young. Once, in Tanzania, she must have been ninety then, her dear uncle was eaten by the siafu. When, after drinking far too late, he lay down to sleep in a river of siafu - migrating, marching - and upon waking found himself in the belly of 100,000 ants, she wanted to swim in that glistening, glazy black river, filling her lungs with the force of 600,000 legs, vanishing below the seething throng. As the steps grew steeper, higher, her legs felt like the frozen jeans thrashing on the icicle line out back. She swore one day that entire line of ice-pierced jeans marched through the nascent, undefiled snow to gather around the heat fire of the beastly wood stove. As she sucked the last of the sweet, crimson juice from the splintery stick, she thought of the siafu. How at that very moment they were carrying the polished bones of her dear uncle to the sea - endlessly, endlessly - marching, marching. She pulled the popsicle stick from her mouth - It’s brilliant she thought - and delicately, deliberately (her frigid veins unablazed by their red-hot breath) scraped every last one into the concrete culvert below.

Blogroll Me!