Leaf Cutter Ants

by Richard Fein

Viewed from on high and with a quick glance,
leaf cutter society is damnably perfect.
We see, we admire:
the aesthetics, the smoothness of motion,
the seeming harmony within the corporate,
and above all, the cleanliness.
But a patient, eye to eye view
would discern the chaos in the particulars.
Half the leaves are cut the wrong way,
landing far from the main procession.
The abandoned green treasure rots brown,
as the ant stream winds through invisible banks.
Those leaves hoisted by the society
are not banners parading in linear progression,
but markers of endless cul-de-sacs, wrong way turns, wasted efforts.
Look closely, look long, and observe--
all that matters to this earthbound world
is that the Queen is fed
and drops of rationed nectar touch the sterile workers' mouths.
The exhausted ones are disassembled
and quickly carted away.
High above, we, the highly evolved observers,
of course, have left such systems
far, far beneath us.