Squirrels and Ants

When boys tread upon anthills it is Golgotha
all over again, the peo­ple run about like
ants who have sold their souls for a bite of ap­ple.

When a dairy­maid churns milk into sweet but­ter
Proserpine is tum­bled into the land of death.
Winter and vir­gin­ity are not quite op­po­sites.

Before I knew po­etry was writ­ten — not lived,
my bea­gle and I would chase grasshop­pers for hours.
Now each day is a new Labor of Heracles.

After I first shaved, I hid in the closet.
I gave the ra­zor blood sac­ri­fice in my fear.
I had no one to guide my shak­ing hands.

When Prometheus gave men knowl­edge of fire,
they promptly for­got its wider con­se­quences.
A squir­rel of­ten for­gets where it hides the acorn.

Poems can­not be writ­ten by the in­no­cent.
Cellar doors open only into the sky­line.
Squirrels and ants burn like men.

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