Amore, spoken in Ant

“But my words become stained with your love.
You occupy everything, you occupy everything.” -Pablo Neruda

lichen, photo by Victoria Accardi

I recall reading an excerpt from Proust once in which he was a traveler on a train going through the countryside. Looking out the window, he sees a woman hanging laundry on a line next to a house in the middle of nowhere. His mind reels away as he imagines an entire life together with her. I was riveted. Being young, naturally I thought only I did that sort of thing, and that perhaps there was something wrong with me because of it.

I was sitting at the table yesterday reading a wonderful book when an ant crawled up on my page. I shook the page and thought I had gotten rid of it. I turned to the next page and the ant was blithely walking across it again. I shook it again, and again he appeared on the next page.

Amore, in Ant

“Ant,” I said, “What are you doing?”
He continued his path
across my tome
Oh, Ant.

I could. I could walk next to him
he’d tell me where to go
our antennae touching
just barely

We’d glide effortlessly across the words,
leaving our trail on the page before.
I’d look at him, for him.
Our bodies one,
sectioned thrice:
beginning, middle and end.

“Ant, did you ever love me?”
No answer.
No. Of course not.
I don’t really blame you.

My mouth along the edge
of the page,
the words blur
as I blow.

JA /2012
I guess I am not even the only one who finds myself talking to ants…

This Morning
Enter without knocking, hard-working ant.
I’m just sitting here mulling over
What to do this dark, overcast day?
It was a night of the radio turned down low,
Fitful sleep, vague, troubling dreams.
I woke up lovesick and confused.
I thought I heard Estella in the garden singing
And some bird answering her,
But it was the rain. Dark tree tops swaying
And whispering. “Come to me my desire,”
I said. And she came to me by and by,
Her breath smelling of mint, her tongue
Wetting my cheek, and then she vanished.
Slowly day came, a gray streak of daylight
To bathe my hands and face in.
Hours passed, and then you crawled
Under the door, and stopped before me.
You visit the same tailors the mourners do,
Mr. Ant. I like the silence between us,
The quiet–that holy state even the rain
Knows about. Listen to her begin to fall,
As if with eyes closed,
Muting each drop in her wild-beating heart.
– Charles Simic


14 responses to “Amore, spoken in Ant

  1. Maybe you could start a family tradition of shouting at insects. Over here most people shout at the radio. But I also got into an argument with a shower head the other day. Not sure who won that round. I decided not to go back.

    • Perhaps, I had a dream last night about a very large insect in the kitchen….and I have been known to go a few rounds with inanimate objects as well- they always get the last word!

  2. Thanks for reminding me of Pablo Neruda — I loves me some Pablo Neruda! And i talk to bugs — and mice — all the time!

  3. LoVeLy Post, Jessica! Really lovely!

    Proust… Neruda, one of my faves… Charles Simic (Had never heard of before but great poem! Thanks!)
    And you and your sensitivity and sense of opportunity among them! You have this astonishing ability to share apparently non-important things, give them a meaning in a context together with some recognized thinkers / poets or whatever you carefully or intuitively pick up…
    You also share a lot from yourself and that’s good!
    I myself use to talk to anything since I know myself… Living creatures do have the last word sometimes, yes, but I tend to build the whole dialogue, so… they don’t have much of a chance! My dog, however, talks to me with her eyes and has her own will and DOES know how to show it. So she doesn’t give me much of a chance, unless I have to show who’s the boss in here. She obeys, but her eyes keep on talking… Sometimes I even feel that on (through) my back!!!
    Regarding inanimate objects, well, I also talk to them and bring my Lilly (dog) into my mumbling when, for instance, I’m looking for something I can’t find. She looks at me with her eyes wide open wondering “Now, what?” and … I always kiss her back ’cause I usually find what I was looking for. Naturally she thinks I’m mad and she’s not entirely wrong!
    There’s probably an explanation for this behaviour. One even more than one. My kid side is too much alive in me and I tend to “being creating worlds” all the time. I’ve never given up fantasy world. Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps I like acting and I don’t know. Or… Mr. Alzheimer has arrived almost 40 years ago and has never ever left… 😉
    (Just kidding with the terrible disease before it plays with me!)

    Congrats again!



  4. I had to restrain myself from posting the entire Neruda poem, I love his poetry.
    Thank you for your kind words, ultimately it is the connections and understanding through these crazy little keyboards that alleviate so much sorrow and isolation. Thanks again!

  5. The ant enjoyed your book 🙂

  6. Very nice post Jessica.

  7. I thought of Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier looking from a train window at a tired woman using a public tap to collect water. Then I thought of Orwell in one of his newspaper pieces describing a cruel trick he played on a wasp that was eating jam from his plate – he cut it in half, and it kept eating as the jam squeezed through without filling its missing gut. (I wonder if anyone could publish an article like that today? It says way too much about my usual reading that I was expecting a bad end for the ant.)

  8. I am happy to let you know that I nominated your blog a Super Sweet Blogging Award!
    Check out the rules and nomination in this link

  9. Pingback: Belonging: an object lesson | so very very

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