The ant sustains on tiny air,
hung beyond gravity,
sifting clear blood.
You can pinch him, throw
him a mile by his senses, bounce
him off a papered wall;
he continues.

Like him I am a good worker;
and I too sniff the small air,
mocking these accordion lungs, walk on ceilings
until the concussion,
paint the stairs red.

Fifty thousand ants
pulling together could make
the figure of a man, but fifty thousand men
wouldn’t amount to an ant
in any aspect of trust or valor.

Look, I’m not accusing,
certainly not you.
I’m the one
any rubber ball could break, curl fetal
to speck a giant’s eye.

But you know, I could be organized.

I could sacrifice myself.
I could carry my own weight and more.
Yes, I love sweets too well.
And I do tickle, slightly.

All the same I’ll join you
on your next crusade, I promise.
I’ll try to be that noble, that mindless.
Leave your signals on the walk today.

I’ll follow.

Al Rocheleau

About the poet: Al Rocheleau’s work has appeared in more than seventy publications in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Austria, and Poland. Journals include Confrontation, Potomac Review, Van Gogh’s Ear, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Evansville Review, Pennsylvania English, Illuminations, Studio One, Nedge, Slant, Ship of Fools, Pig Iron, Outerbridge, Iodine Poetry Journal, Nebo, Sahara, Revelry, and Poetry Salzburg Review. In 2004, he received the Thomas Burnett Swann Poetry Prize, offered by the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers’ Association. A manual, On Writing Poetry: For Poets Made as Well as Born, was published by Shantih Press in 2010. In 2012, he founded and still directs the Twelve Chairs Advanced Poetry Seminars, a 180-hour, 30-seminar program available to private students of all ages. The program offers full scholarships to high school students, and it is accredited by the Florida State Poets Association. He lives in Orlando, Florida.