Who Tells You How to Live

To journey like an ant from that crushed garter snake
in the road to intricate tunnels of saliva and grit—

would that please you? Keeping to the pattern of travel
with a precise burden of food on your back—is that enough?

Early morning in this forest is a racket of birds
and squirrels. Swamp rabbits chew the damp grasses.

Those kittens someone dumped from a car smash wildly
in the underbrush. Soon it will be too hot to feed.

One or two airplanes cross—invisible
cosmic insects below a blue swim of galaxies.

Isn’t it enough that the body keeps working its parts,
that words spill bright as birds above this seeded earth?

Who tells you how to live in this blessing of dust?
See, the ants come and go. They look like they are singing.

:: Pamela Stewart, The Red Window (1997)

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