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Spring 1986, Volume 3


Opie R. Houston

Opie R. Houston is a retired Air Force officer and prize-winning poet. He is widely published in a number of poetry magazines such as Gryphon, Cedar Rock, Pudding and others. He teaches creative writing at Austin Texas Community College.



from my throne
i watch a caravan of ants
dismantle an apple
on the bathroom floor

"no eating of food
outside your land"
i whisper
but the ants scurry around

unheeding of my law
reveling in their find
exalting that which
i have forbidden

"you're not supposed to be here"
i boom
and douse them
with a plant mister

accumulated drops flood
their world
but a few
carrying provisions

take refuge
in an empty wine bottle
that lies in clutter
in the corner

as i dry
the overdue-for-cleaning tiles
i notice the ants
in the bottle

glutting themselves
on residual wine
which puddles
their sanctuary

my task takes less
than a minute
only about thirty
or forty seconds

but it must seem
longer to them
how they rejoice

as i
into strange
but dry surroundings