How am I alive and a palo verde lives, too?

Her skin beckons Sun to rub into her fingers,
reflecting off thickening interbranchings until massaged to sleep
in her green unornamented bed,
and then she eats him.

Naked but veiled by her own ever-dividing thorn-network,
drawing down to her jointed creasing into the earth,
wind-fashioned yellowed limbs limply framing her
for a bracing bright November morning,
the desert-reddened palo verde needs little more than her reaching presence,
no intrigue past intensity,
unrhythmically pushing signless flesh into plentiful sandspace,
no footsteps to watch vanish into tangle
but interpenetrative roots and rock dirt holding her implacably to this place,
to a life yearning but virtuous.

Do I live as the noble saguaro?

The noble saguaro gather to form decaying patterns,
ever reconstellating the sand as mythopoetry of their own self-sacrifice,
they agonize in melodramatic tableaux.
Long stretched skeleton-stakes curl from the honorable cactus corpses
lain to crumble under the sunís endless gentle fist,
while in maturity the worthy saguaroís arms are falling
off and headís caved in from the squatting birds, and
even the upright cactus youth carries a ravaged
gut like none human but a Spartan could withstand in those tender years.
I have no belly clawed to gashes by a wolf cub,
Iím ruined by a breath.

I want to hug them, when first I come upon a reverent saguaro death cult,
hardly stop to pay respects before loving them loudly,
but murmur blessing for the dignified saguaro,
who stand stoic in deep quiet,
holding the line.

Am I alive like an ant then?

I stamped him.
He was crawling toward my toes, and I,
flashed with concern at an ant-crawl afoottop,
stamped my sandal rudely into the pebble,
the ant between.
Yet he lived!
Crawling seemingly unimpededly he puttered
bemused a moment before heading back with determination toward my toes.
Upon which, re-stamping commenced.
Results the same, I stamped once more and vigorously.
As I watched the hardy fool ant finally turn away,
still unharmed by my multiple mashings of his tiny frame,
I felt a marvel at its fitness thrill through my body,
which now that it has my attention
has begun to ache.
Is a crushing weight upon me which I hardly recognize?
Have I come upon some private part of Godís body unwittingly?
And as I stumble out from under foot,
does He begin to feel a subtle ache in bones too long at rest?

The exploration part of antsing could be fun.
Dangerous, I suppose,
but from time to time a wandering ant would see scenes of breathtaking beauty.
Do ants breathe?
A decaying leaf might rest a while upon a twig
and two pebbles as posts
to make a little roof to wait out the hard parts of the day.
Do ants tire?
Perhaps a beautiful butterfly was napping there,
perhaps the well-travelled ant
missing the peaceful butterfly
crawled blithely onto her comfortable back,
perhaps the startled b'fly is two flaps from the scraggy treetops
before she notices the heretofore flightless ant,
gripped to her fuzz and scared nearly white as a termite.
Do ants guess at the impending doom of time?
What an adventurous life an ant must live!,
an ant aloft astride the lovely lady,
perhaps down below a little beetleís bumping repeatedly
into some nut shell fragment in despair,
seeing which the graceful butterfly takes
a current of air within her colorful wing to land a length away,
and it may be our courageous ant then dismounts
to push lost beetle to the right,
and oh but then perhaps the heart-tender ant sees
a flash of lace underwing in the intemperate flutter-up she
catches in a quickening current to be gone again.
Do ants call out into the night lovestruck?

- in the nearest faraway place

original version