The Mathematician and the Ant.

by Desmond Hearne Morrey | Poetry | Spring 2021

Vincent Zhu, Crack (series)

I am following an ant, 
watching its shiny black carapace 
scuttle, (patriotically), into battle. 

I’ve read that they smell each other 
(or, whatever an ant’s understanding of smell might be)
and separate themselves from the enemy with olfactory banners.
I myself having no scent of war, 
am invisible. 

My friend tells me: 
“Spiders are fine, they 
don’t know 
that they’re creeping around 
on a creature (a person, 
a whole subjective unit) 
But centipedes 
will fuck you up.” 

The color of the world (on bright days)
differentiates things, and I find joy in their multiplicity.
The same light reflects, refracts, many times, many ways, 
and I touch these borders of brilliance, 
grasp and rip them from each other, and 
set them up in a little row. 
One thing, two things, three things…

A ladybug lands on a poem. I am 
fascinated and so 
I drop a cookie crumb to her. She 
finds it, tastes it, and 
the sugar is too sweet, 
too much, and she 
runs in circles over it. 
(I, on the other hand, 
have eaten the rest of the cookie) 

They say (my professors) 
that we must start with nothing (the empty set),
and then continue to add (and 
rephrase, and bound, and contain) itself,
and this is how we reach 
infinity. We start with one 
leaf, and find another 
and soon we have collected 
everything (and more).

If I flew away from here (on gossamer wings)
and turned back, would I see 
so many colors? The bright reds of 
autumn leaves, the grays and 
yellow lights of urbanity? 

I say 
that I walk across poems and 
do not know if the land I love 
is a creature, and do not know 
when one ends 
and two begins.  

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