Earth Gates (the rock)

           in the corner of my garden
                     a rock

the size of a human pelvis
grey w/ a charcoal grey stripe


             above a lace of
               kernelled soil

              I lift the rock


        discover a circus
of glossy bubbled beings

         a zigzag frenzy
                     of running
     black stitches

         glassine legs
     abdomen antennae
strung together

               a tiny city
                   riled roiling


        a chute of glory
         throbs beneath
       the staid grey rock

narrow columns bead up
       head by head
   (how many stories down?)

        body then body then body

        moving     dying


           soccer players socking away
         yellow balls of larvae

tailors and farmers
     feeders of the social stomach

   miners and acrobats
pathfinders gravediggers

                     sort the soil
   tunnel in porosity

     riffing off each other

                               lay down
             their communal


   the weight
of the rock

the gate of the rock

   is propped up by the many
of their shoulders


are they singular

      are they one and one

                         or legion?

this earth of beings


        the heavy lid of the rock
     holds forth in the outer world

        gives nothing away


       a gardener in Ontario
tried each of the recommended
                    tricks to rid his garden
               of ants:

cinnamon, vinegar,
             garlic, coffee, cayenne,
                       lemon eucalyptus, Dawn—

   the ants undeterred
undead interred

               rung round
his roses
                  no ashes       no falling
bridges or arches
                                they posied
   in pockets

             and ran the battle

winning they won
      over the gardener

     ants are okay tenants
he claims now

     (unless they’re fired-up biters
or carpenters deconstructing your sill)

ants aerate the soil
              and eat the dead

only once in awhile
    will they nip
              a red-ripe berry
      or pock the cheek of a peach


      what if

                    One Moment!

    the heavy roof of sky lifts
          w/o warning

the eye of the sun
            locks in

and unempaneled air
                rushes toward you
                           w/ full flushing force!

as if what’s been built

       (generations of exertion
                and bodily exhaustion)

          were nothing

              nothing at all?

            Oh Hello Death!

(slowly I
the rock)





Mary Buchinger is the author of /klaʊdz/ (2021), e i n f ü h l u n g/in feeling (2018), Aerialist (2015), and Virology (forthcoming). Her work has appeared in AGNI, Gargoyle, Massachusetts Review, [PANK], Plume, and elsewhere. President of the New England Poetry Club, she teaches at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston.

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