Thomas J. Erickson
I am an attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and often write or think about writing poems while I'm sitting in court. My chapbook, The Lawyer Who Died in the Courthouse Bathroom, was published by Parallel Press (University of Wisconsin Libraries) in 2013. I am a member of the Hartford Avenue Poets in Milwaukee.
The Nuptial Flight
Ninety-nine percent of all the billions of ants
in the world are female. All the ants you see
on the sidewalk or in your garden or in your
kitchen are female. You may never ever see
a male ant in your entire life (unless you dig
up an ant colony—which I have done, by
the way.) The female ants do all the work.
They collect the food, build the nest, defend
the colony, tend to the larvae. The sole task
of the male ant is to inseminate the queen.
When she arrives from her nuptial flight,
the queen chooses a few of the six-legged
bags of sperm. After making their deposit,
they die. When winter comes, the remaining
virgin boys are eaten by their industrious sisters.
These things happen because it is their nature.
On the steps of the courthouse, I
congratulate my client on her divorce
and refer to her by her new last name.
While she asks me out for a celebratory
drink, underfoot, the female ants scurry
about the sidewalk, the indolent males
await their queen in languid repose, and
the queen begins her nuptial flight.
©2015 Thomas J. Erickson