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I see a line of ants, a long continuum of subtle disturbance, a columnar
ripple, each one carrying eggs to shift the nest because the bathroom
is bone dry and has not been used for months.

The ants vibrate sideways, a violin's string, as the bogeys of ant, ant,
ant shunt forward, grains of black rice on soft beats of music, a
finely knotted hair-thin thread that the Bengali poet once swore
to tie around his wrist the day his mother died. Some other Bengali poet
also spoke of writing her name on a thin blade of grass
when his mother died. The sentiment is
similar in both. Breathing heavy through holes in their legs,
the ants continue to lift the eggs, like Buddhist pilgrims
carrying grindstones around their necks. Or like an immigrant
with a child on his shoulder. The child holds a football, future embryonic,
to the Sun and smiles thinking about soft, green playgrounds
in the new country, the exhausted planet of his old country abandoned
behind because the binary stars of Religion
and Politics have spent their fissile fuel. And the ants disappear into a hole in the wall,
beside the tap of water: The epitome of a twist of fate: The bloodline in the candled egg.

Somendra Singh Kharola is a graduate student studying evolutionary biology at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, India. His poems have been accepted by several journals and periodicals, the most recent being The Missing Slate.
Current Issue
20 Mar 2023

Strange Horizons will be open to fiction submissions on April 26th, 2023, at 9 a.m. UTC! To keep our response times manageable and submission windows more frequent, there will be a 1,000-story cap on submissions.
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