Lowell Jaeger

They’d carved—

(this army of ants)

in the gravel— 

an expressway!

My son and I stood watching

constant traffic.

Frenzied comings

and goings.

Aztecs. Egyptians.

Giant blocks heaved

shoulder to shoulder,

bits of leaf and bark.

The hive mounding,

grain by grain

proudly skyward.

Whatever their plan

our lunchtime ended.

My son in the backhoe

and I with my spade

ripped the earth

beneath them. Another

civilization lost. Buried.

We laid a hundred

yards of crushed-rock

driveway that afternoon.

All the while, glancing

over our shoulders.

Feeling small.