“Is this the way we’ll be forgotten?”

illustration of a trail of ants coming out of long grass
Art by https://linktr.ee/kristinapaints

“Not Forgotten”

by Toi Derricotte (1941-)

I love the way the black ants use their dead.
They carry them off like warriors on their steel
backs. They spend hours struggling, lifting,
dragging (it is not grisly as it would be for us,
to carry them back to be eaten),
so that every part will be of service. I think of
my husband at his father’s grave—
the grass had closed
over the headstone, and the name had disappeared. He took out
his pocket knife and cut the grass away, he swept it
with his handkerchief to make it clear. “Is this the way
we’ll be forgotten?” And he bent down over the grave and wept.

from Tender

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