(image jumping)

when the baby latches on to the young
mother’s nipple, she pockets air
in her cheeks, feels the tiny
teeth like bee stings.

in grasslands, ants harvest stalks of grass,
drag them into tunnel cities to rot.
the rotting feeds the fungus that feeds the ants.
people, too, can live like this.

he wakes up because she is choking, but not so
much that she cannot say she is choking.
stomach to back, he forces his hands up into her
diaphragm. the culprit: a halls lozenge.
she jokes that next time she’s looking for a rush,
she’ll catch the bathtub spider, or let him
tie her to the kitchen table.

the flea-burdened girl on the sidewalk shakes
her soup can full of marbles in the face
of the man walking by. when he dumps the change
from his ethically sourced latte into her can,
she pulls up her shirt – she is trying to make a fair trade.
later, the man fucks his wife for the first time in months,
closes his eyes to see the homeless girl’s tits.

termites build their mounds always
on a north-south axis. thumbnail shaped
heaps like rows of red-dirt gravestones.

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