Inside the garden pot the ants
had been busy behind plastic
confined in their imprinted circuitry
patterns of labour, tunnels of itch
now suddenly disturbed by my wrenching
of the Christmas tree,
enough years serving its purpose
of annual celebration,
dressed with solar bulbs and red leaves,
starved of nutrition but stubbornly surviving.
I stripped it of sideshoots
to a perfunctory phallus
as sullen as a forced salute and as stiff.
Air and light revealed the ants
their frantic comings and goings,
discarded gossamer wings lifted
carapaces rolled by spiny legs.
In two hours time they would be gone
as it they had never existed.