I was four when a column of army ants, twenty thousand or more, raided the house, washing the floor black. I climbed on a table, above the biting clamor, and crouched, legs cramping, wanting water, watching the ants swarm. Hours, they preyed on termites thick in the beams and scorpions fell writhing and covered from the ceiling. Until, at once, all the ants, indistinguishable, streamed away to flush birds from the bushes, or small cats from swamps, and eat their bones bare. Seeing such exotic sights, such a sweeping gesture as ants ever traveling, each day invading a new place, hunting through my home—how did it shape me? Not into a column, a solid thing. What I marvel at most now is common, little, individual. To have met him. And to see him again. So often that I’d know his back by the slant way he walks, in any crowd. This better than living among the numerous and always ranging hungry.
Rose McLarney | Until Nothing is Foreign Contents | Mudlark No. 51 (2013)