The Transitory Self Confronted with Ant Hills
Terri Brown-Davidson

I adore an Albuquerque dawn, the red crawling light
that flares up and out over a mountain range so delectably
purple I taste it like a concord-burst
chill-inducing inside my mouth,
age draping me in a transitory self
shimmering and translucent as an extra skin,
these morning treks to a luxurious nowhere
energizing me, enervating me, depleting me to cell and marrow
so I can’t imagine any wound more masochistically delicious
than the slowly accruing ecstasy of tilting my pale face back,
white sunlight flooding over it in a suffering-rush so exquisite
I shiver and not because I’ve forgotten my sweater under Mei Li,
who loves to sleep with mementos of her momma
during the stormiest New Mexico nights:
nor because the cold air raises the hairs on my arms
in a bristling exchange that acknowledges the brilliant
blue air—almost garish—rimming the mountains,
the red-and-green balloons that appear to float straight into the sun,
not this, not this, but the swallowing of everything, the cannibalistic joy:
the balloon, the passengers, the joy in my diminishing boundaries,
the passionate fire ants vanishing into deepening tunnels.


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