Christopher Wool, Untitled 1994

Ants

For 一茶 Issa

I see him in every station with a notepad and crumpled schedules:

Days spent beyond reason tracking arrivals and departures:

a code he knows without attending to anything more than his diaphragm

falling away from each departing breath: He counts the 5:40 from Nagoya

as it arrives washing in like the tide precisely on time —

cutting another groove in the metal of his mind: Synchronicity

provides for moments less manic but there is no rest for this watcher

or the other angels of attention I have met: tracking boats or buses or weather.

All of it matters: seasons, migration of fish,

monsoon, snowmelt, streaming bits of leaf over time

plugging the channel, the day when the tide spills over the causeway:

This great machine clattering on — Can the pulse of the universe be checked?

fingerprints left behind on the throat just below the opening

where the cosmic voice first emerged.

::

though also vigilant

I have been undone by constellations

of bodies, words, thoughts, a mistake triggered

by just the distance of a synapse.

So I proceed within sight: like all of the ants among us

attempting to follow the trail

through the only time I will ever be inside:

Watched by eyes with stronger lenses

I am certain that I

would ignite.

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