Before The Storm
In the woods, black ants run down
an upturned log, a wooden escarpment
raised a yard above the forest floor.
The ants plummet to loam and leaf litter
by the hundreds and hundreds each second,
their bodies sounding like what’s to come;
presentimental echo of the song of rain;
ritual theater; propitiation to the same gods
that will flood their tunnels and smother
their queen, drown their eggs, and erase
the stencil borders of their kingdom.
Five Modern Analects
One termite to another says:
“Sometimes I think all we’re building
are our own tombs.”
And the other says: “No, tombs are for queens;
we’ll die in the sun, on the hard concrete,
searching for a crack to lay our eggs in.”
I hear in Russia Joseph Stalin’s back in fashion,
and in Asia Genghis Khan never quite went out,
and if getting things done makes a good leader,
Andrew “Action” Jackson may be our finest man.
Maybe we really do need guns
to protect ourselves
from the armed ones convinced
that they’re the ones in danger.
If we build the next truck just a little bigger,
so that it takes up 1.75 lanes instead of just 1.5,
we can all ride through the heart of the ashcloud
after the waking Yellowstone supervolcano
stretches its limbs and lays hands
on the fertile breast of America.
Consider the snowglobe in your hand:
the little man standing by his little cottage
also believes he’s outside the glass.
Jonathan Louis Duckworth is an MFA student at Florida International University in Miami, where he serves as a reader and copy-editor for the Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction and poetry appears in or is forthcoming in Sliver of Stone Magazine, Mount Island Magazine, Clapboard House, and Gravel: A Literary Journal among others.