May 2005 / Volume Six / Issue Three
Chris D'Errico
Of Ants & Sycophants

is word I always have to look up– 
I forget the meaning so I break out the dictionary–
It says to see the word subservient.
Well I sure as hell know what that means.
Slapped in the face by the morning sun,
yesterday was a whiny little brat
that needed its wiseass whipped into shape,
with the face of an old geezer
tugging at my pant leg,
always asking questions I couldn’t answer,
I kept trying & kept failing.
My 7:30 was like that:
he told me that if you get stung by a vinegaroon
you get the taste of vinegar in your mouth.
Truth is, I told him, that’s just a myth– 
though they live in the desert & look like scorpions,
vinegaroons have no stinger
& are not poisonous.
Like my professional insight bugged him,
he got upset & insisted that I was wrong– 
he knows someone that got stung once.
I just nodded because the customer is always right.
In collusion I pointed
my flashlight at the line of ants invading his living room,
all of them marching in perfect efficient harmony
toward their collective goal.
With my finger poised on the trigger of my pesticide sprayer
I launched a chemical attack, ruthlessly
hosing the little soldiers down with pyrethrin,
watching them writhe & drown on their backs
of red & black armor
& when I finished the job he wrote me out a check.
As I walked back to my truck
I forgot the word I was meaning to look up in the dictionary,
with determination & purpose,
bugged by my bad memory & the rudeness of rush hour
I maneuvered into the right lane of heavy traffic going south–
heading toward my next appointment.
RETURN to May 2005