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The Ant Watching Sisyphus

Artwork by Aldwin Li, staff artist

Forever is an afternoon for the dead.

An afternoon is forever to an ant.

An afternoon is well-spent when it is one

Bringing back a berry ripe to the point of rot.

An ant pushes her prize across potholes, slight dips in the dirt.

An ancient king pushes his punishment over a never-ending slope.

She watches him. She knows of kings

Who live forever in years and in legends.

She passed a beloved uncle’s bones along the way.

Lazarus came back from the dead but didn’t stay.

She wonders if there was ever a point to that delay.

Forever is still forever if you withhold a day.

She knows of kings, but she knows a king.

One who listened and stopped his men when

Her sister warned the other ants to hide away.

He heard them and he prayed

To use what he had for good and to remember

that we, ants and humans, were all fragile things.

She listened to his cautious steps fade away

above the roof over her head.

The ground that swallowed and protected generations echoed:

We were all fragile things.

She will not escape death. She will not be a legend.

She will roll the crumb over the hill.

Her family will eat, and live, for another afternoon.

Thus, she leaves a poem of memories, bones, and stones,

And makes her way back home.

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