Black Ants

I walk the crunchy gravel road at Winema Cemetery.
It’s July & she knows it splashing in her bath of brilliant blue,

starving for so much affection.
Winema is the Native American name for Chief.

I can hear the familiar clear stream nearby, fat
with Rainbow Trout freshly washed

from the west side of Mt. Shasta.
It serves as natural divide between

the graveyard & drowsy California
Highway 99. I have returned again

to a cobalt snowy day, in late December,
when we buried you much too soon. I remember

the biology class we shared, when the vapor
of oleic acid burned our nostrils, just like the

ants that scurried away their dead instinctively,
commanded into action somehow. How they

carried the tiny decaying bodies, one by one,
far away from the colony, dumping them in piles.

As we scurried your remains, I was reminded
that we are not so different, other than the coffin

of clothing we gave you, to make us feel more
comfortable. Today, I reflect on just one shivering

boy and a noisy stream of trout.


Dan A. Cardoza holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Science Degree in Counseling from California State University, Sacramento. He has been published in Aleola, Ardent, Avocet, Better Than Starbucks, California Quarterly, Canary, Curlew, UK., Esthetic Apostle, Poetry Pacific, Page & Spine, Poetry Northwest and Vita Brevis.

Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.