(step) Mother’s Day by Andrea Martineau

Poem title: (step) Mother’s Day Poet name: Andrea Martineau Poem: i. Maculinea alcon butterflies plummet to earth as caterpillars, picked up by Danish ants who murmur there, there back to the next, the ants raise Them as their own, so Netflix says a British narrator croons: the ants have been deceived the ants have been deceived they cater to the caterpillars, do not realize they are not their own You giggle, “The silly ants Can’t tell the difference!” perhaps their ignorance is intentional ii. in our backyard, ant colonies inhabit the patio perimeter cruise over Your chalk portraits red throbbing veins crawl into our basement through cracked foundation around kitty litter containers your kitten squishes them beneath her jellybean toes iii. Your grandma sneaks into the yard on the weekends slaughters them with foam, other treacherous methods we clean the windows in spring I follow behind you scrubbing tall spots you can’t reach You spray the ants with Windex, assure me “Mom, I’ve slowed them down they will die soon” can’t bring myself to kill them iv. I sit crow-pose on the deck’s steps, scribble out a poem Teeter toes on edge Knees bent by nose Your dad is home to start supper, serial kills With each step “I think I’m going to make the salmon” I wince v. I eat supper on the deck ants waltz across my tanned arms, little specks of red, indecipherable from cherry angiomas I plant raspberries along the fence line the colony hurdles over my shoes in single file consumes everything in sight, swept up in their existence leaves nothing unscathed except for me we both raise caterpillars End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © Andrea Martineau Previously published in untethered Vol 12, June 2022. Andrea Martineau is a poet, bibliophile, and phytomaniac with a penchant for heritage buildings and their paranormal tenants. She left her hometown of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to complete her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Regina, and now resides in the Queen City with her family, rescue cats, Horsfield tortoise, and collection of houseplants. Her poetry has previously been published in Blank Spaces, [SPACE], Figroot Press, and Freshwater Literary Journal.