The ants have chosen our fingernail brush,
the wooden handle shading the worn
bristles – a dandelion leaf cooling blades
I wish they hadn’t chosen us.
First, I tried running vaseline
along the crevice between the
wall and the window facing.
The ants were confused, but
undeterred. They spent days
finding the weakness in my
Then I took to smooshing them
into the bowl of the sink, which
made my stomach turn.
Mary Beth, our neighbor, says she read
that ants are thirsty this time of year.
Crushing them into the porcelain,
whooshing them down
the drain, made me feel a potentate.
The old ceramic sink, my fiefdom.
So, I stopped,
curious to see what would happen,
how many of them would come.
Would we be overrun?
Once a few scouts determined
I had retreated, they scurried
into the crevice to alert their
compatriots. And in an orderly line
down the cool backsplash
to their home under the fingernail
brush, which, I admit, was mainly
ceremonial before the ants arrived.
Now, I take care when I wash my hands
not to splash too much water. I feel sorry
when they about face and start climbing
back to the crevice, nervous at my shadow.
After all, I have room for the ants, and the
fingernail brush looks suddenly useful
with these settlers raising committees
among the bristles.
– Jeni Hankins, April 18, 2016
Written while waiting for a checkup at the doctor’s office.
The ants were out to lunch when I got home, so I couldn’t take their photo.