Anthill at the mailbox post

There comes a point for us all
when more people
we know have died
than still live.
You know that in a church
somewhere a crowd
plays Bingo while in another
a congregation honors
the god they keep betraying
in their hearts.
No one is ever more
than a few feet from a spider
and the combined weight
of ants on this planet
is greater than
that of human beings.
How much soil do they move
In one day?
Are we capable of the same?
You tighten your peacoat
As you walk towards
your car from work.
It’s finally a cold
you feel in your fingers
as you avoid the branches
but crunch the leaves.
The strap of your satchel chaffes
and you’re tired from staying up
to monitor the third day of the
second week of your son’s cough.
You tell yourself you’d rather
stayed in bed than rise,
that given choice you’d tighten
the shutters and refold the curtains
against the light, well aware
you’re lying to yourself, that
you won’t sleep enough anyway.
There’s something you can’t
turn off even as you’re sewing
yourself shut like a poem
in an envelope, why you keep
your bedside stocked with
melatonin, ambien, notepad
and pen, a stripped down app
on your phone for things
that must come out typed.
You hope maybe one day
they’ll see it and understand
that everyone is a church
one must kneel inside to pray
and that you so dearly envied
the ants.  How they exit and enter
their little hills.  How under the ground
they meet in burrows and talk
with scents and touches of their antennae.
How they move without regret,
without sorrow for what they left behind
because their whole life built it.

Andrew Najberg

Andrew Najberg's work has appeared in North American Review, Louisville Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Nashville Review, Artful Dodge, Yemassee, Bamboo Ridge, and various other journals and anthologies. Andrew is the author of Easy to Lose (Finishing Line Press, 2007) and a recipient of an AWP Intro Award. Currently, he teaches creative writing and other courses for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he also served as the assistant director of the Meacham Writers Workshop for three years.