Monument by Natasha Trethewey
Today the ants are busy beside my front steps, weaving in and out of the hill they're building. I watch them emerge and—
like everything I've forgotten—disappear into the subterranean—a world made by displacement. In the cemetery last June, I circled, lost—
weeds and grass grown up all around— the landscape blurred and waving. At my mother's grave, ants streamed in and out like arteries, a tiny hill rising
above her untended plot. Bit by bit, red dirt piled up, spread like a rash on the grass; I watched a long time the ants' determined work,
how they brought up soil of which she will be part, and piled it before me. Believe me when I say I've tried not to begrudge them
their industry, this reminder of what I haven't done. Even now, the mound is a blister on my heart, a red and humming swarm.
Ever since I found out that earth worms have taste buds
all over the delicate pink strings of their bodies,
I pause dropping apple peels into the compost bin, imagine
the dark, writhing ecstasy, the sweetness of apples
permeating their pores. I offer beets and parsley,
avocado, and melon, the feathery tops of carrots.
from "Feeding the Worms"
by Danusha Laméris