They find me in the living room
chair, on the couch, in the bed.
Anywhere I am, they are.
I can never find where they get
in, can never track a solid line,
and they appear only when
I am nursing—or trying to
Emblematic of my failure, they come
for the sweet breast milk, which
seems to be everywhere except in this
apparently ever-shrinking baby.
When I lift the lid off the candy dish
on the top shelf, I see wrappers, still
round in the middle and twisted on the
sides, but with only pockets of air inside.
Digging around, I find a wrapper with a
tiny ant in it, carrying a minute speck of
candy—sugar ants have dismantled each
lozenge, piece by piece, and stolen them.
How many hours, days, weeks, months
has this operation been going on, workers
slipping in through a sliver of air between
bowl and lid, sneaking into sealed packages?
Why are the sugar ants here? So that I’ll try
to get at least one more ounce of milk in this baby?
I can see, somewhere, a hill, astonishing in size,
made up of tiny mouthfuls of candy.
Charissa Menefee teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University. Her chapbook, WHEN I STOPPED COUNTING, is available from Finishing Line Press. Her recent poems can also be found in TERRENE, ADANNA, AMYGDALA, and Telepoem Booths in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Her new play, OUR ANTIGONE, adapted from Sophocles, was premiered by Iowa’s Story Theatre Company in March.