The Bread Line

The Bread Line

Bread lines on sidewalk cracks
start and end with silent smugglers.
Queued, ranks of worker ants scurry
to moist nests in fissures,
valets to white-rice eggs,
nothing matters but next.

Ants begin with burdens
larger than their bodies.
When something needs doing,

she does it – skirting roadblocks,
swerving to avoid gridlock.
Chemical tweets pass possibilities,
direct attention to great need.

Humans on the god-seat at picnics poke
twigs in mounds, ramparts of castle walls,
These Richter-nine earthquakes massacre
the breadline that ants rebuild,
haul waste, and scavenge leftovers
as if nothing feels like war.

Does a brainstorm
in swarm intelligence smell
yellow like a lightning bolt?
A gentle shower of sweated mutualism?

What does a message taste like
that can predict
the genocide of a tribe?


Tricia Knoll is a Vermont eco-poet. This poem first appeared n her chapbook Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press).

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