Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Carpenter Ants

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Carpenter Ants

Article excerpt

arrived in ones and twos, and then by quincunx and phalanx

from out of the beautiful drawer, behind the oblate

knob of the dresser that Jessie brought home

from a yard sale whose proprietor couldn't stop talking

about his son's entrepreneurial verve; with its durable

materials and grownup color scheme

of teak and malachite, this hardwood

conversation piece would fit our house

just right. We left it out by the front stairs.

We have plans for that house, for Nathan and for Cooper: today

one draws,

one tries to prevent his brother from drawing, pictures of imaginary


the War of Independence

of Nathan's Country, for example, whose streaky

pinks and coppery greens

are cannonballs, tracer shots, or anachronistic-

he's just picked up the word "anachronistic"-

ballast for medieval siege machines.

Achilles, whose refusal

to go back to war is the core

of the Iliad and of Roger Lancelyn Green's

adaptation for children, The Story of Troy,

commanded his own platoon, called

Myrmidons because they resembled ants

not so much in their exoskeletal

greaves and pentangular helmets as in their ability

to fight and act as one. …

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