Formicid Form: “I Light the House on Fire and Lie Down”

The Daily Ant recently launched “Formicid Form”, a Sunday ant poetry series. When possible, our new Verse Correspondant, Natalia Piland, will provide a short commentary at the end of each poem. Enjoy!

Also, contribute to our ongoing GoFundMe campaign to bring classic ant tunes to life!


I Light the House on Fire and Lie Down

By Natalie Scenters-Zapico, in The Verging Cities

on my kitchen floor to feel the ants march
the hidden sugars on my body. They are
a crown at my head. Above me, leaves

are suspended from the ceiling, leaves
that float up to the bare lightbulb that is
to them a moon. In my mind I solve the slope

between each ant and its corresponding leaf:
m = (y2 – y1)/(x2 – x1). With the turn
of a compass I imagine your rise over run

a coordinate far away: a deer,
a raptor, an exoskeleton uncovered
in bright earth. The ants perform Mass

around me, and I remember:
the border agent, how he put his hand
on your head, how he lead you

to the car, how he arrested your body.
I want to think he blessed you
against the chemicals, the hose

they would spray you with. When
he called you Illegal, he asked
how I’d made love to an angel of other,

how our bodies had not shattered
in sin. I thought of how you could bring
quiet. But tonight the house glows

in fire. The ants form the contour
of your face – geography
of a body I cannot begin to measure.


Verse Correspondant Natalia Piland writes: “Which borders are more natural? Those delineated by agents or those by ants? I’d say the latter.”

Piland also offered this poem, which she encountered through her Lady Lit Book Club.


Scenters-Zapico_Natalie(c-José Ángel Maldonado)

Natalie Scenters-Zapico. Credit: José Ángel Maldonado

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