The Follies Of Formicidae
Amber JohnsonAnnerley, QLD
As the tiny soldiers make an epic journey, following the promised scent, their beady eyes fall upon the crystalline mountain that towers above them. Ebony plates cover their bodies in natural armour ask they trek onward. In a single file regiment, they scale vertical heights like they were born to climb. No safety rope or harness secures them from the fall, only tough feet and the strength exceeding that of men keep them secured to the walls. Team work keeps them going along with the trust in the brave soul who dared venture first. Should the scout break formation and retreat, the company’s morale will diminish.
Once they conquer tapering cliffs, the fumes that rise from the caldera become intoxicatingly potent. At the very rim of the volcano, the regiment halts. They no longer march in the orderly fashion that they followed throughout the climb. A caldron of emotions bubbles within them until anarchy breaks loose. Some pace nervously around the lip, watching others surpass them and plummet to their demise. It is the cautious ones that survive the longest. Once they have gained the courage to make a steady descent into the hazardous pit, the amber nectar beckons them closer. Only when their eyes fall upon the pool of molten gold do they realise that they are not alone.
They were not the first to find this sacred site, and they won’t be the last.
Legions of fallen kin litter the citrine surface with twisted bodies. Their shiny black corpses float along the lost sea like a fleet of sunken ships. A few survivors struggle to pull themselves from the depths, pleading for help from the new-comers. Some of the adventurers heed the warning cries and scramble in a hasty ascent towards the exit. They will not risk their lives for this madness. Others have travelled too far to return empty handed. They know that this will be their last journey should they fail.
One dares perch above the sacred liquor. They pay no regard to the fact that the pool is tainted by the flesh of their kinsmen. The desire to quench their insatiable thirst is too strong. Feet cling to the slippery walls as his lips send ripples across the surface. Taking note of his method, others began to follow suit.
Two opportunists fish their comrades from the aureolin sea, dragging them up the steep ascent. Whilst it may appear that they are respecting the dead this is not the case. In a barren land where each meal could be your last, you take no chances. Regrets are for the weak and protein is scarce.
It is often not the journey there but the one home which is the hardest. I have watched countless victims fall prey to madness, consumed by the giddy thrill of the hallowed syrup. They never leave, forevermore lingering at the surface until the jitters kick in and they drown in sickly bliss.
Those few successful enough to survive the quest return with protruding bellies, filled with sweet triumph. Their opaque skin reveals the amber fluid stored in their rumps in preparation for harsher days whilst they scurry away from the mass grave that rests upon my desk.
Bio: Amber says that this poem follows the humble journey that these little creatures found themselves undertaking across the expanse of her desk. She had looked at a glass of juice that she had left for no more than 20 minutes before it was conquered by adventurous ants.