Walking down a road lined with elm and oak,
A puzzling image strikes the wand’ring eye –
An anthill at the foot of a mailbox
Covered in a white coat of poison.
What purpose did this serve? To protect
The postman from savage stings? He is overdressed
In metal and in glass. To save the owner
Of the house? The placement of the nest
Would not make him strain his arm to get
His letters. To beautify a space?
That pile of powder looks completely out of place.
Man’s nihilistic control of nature
Is its hidden meaning; the corruption
Of the Southerner’s inner disposition –
His close-felt kinship with the creation
And his strong yearning for what is comely –
Is its final, sad conclusion.
Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.