i thought…

by alana garrigues

 

i thought to be an artist

at some point

i had to go big.

 

i thought to be a writer

at some point

i had to go long.

 

but i am not big.

and i am not long.

 

i am small and intricate,

layered,

observant.

 

to know me

is to wade into

the lapping details

of season and time.

Pensive | Alana Garrigues

becoming

by alana garrigues

 

i have not yet met

the me of tomorrow,

 

the one who has collected and

synthesized the thoughts of

the me of today,

 

as i have done for

the me of yesterday,

 

and i wonder … sometimes i wonder

 

about the became and the becoming

and the to become

 

and marvel at it all

 

because

wow —

 

what a great mystery to watch unfold

in real time.

freedom

by alana garrigues

manzanita, oregon | september 2021

 

one large black ant

 

a bodybuilder, surely,

each bump of its body

-head, thorax, abdomen-

the size of a ripe huckleberry

 

marches,

determined,

to the salted sea.

 

it has nearly reached tide’s edge,

stepping thousands of tiny steps by now, from

the sea grasses, or the blackberry vines, or the pines across the road,

over the dunes and a quarter mile of dry sand,

to arrive here.

 

no small feat, even for a bodybuilder. 

 

i stop and wonder why,

gazing at it for ten minutes or more,

taking one long stride for every hundred or so it takes.

 

i can’t help but watch its journey,

protectively standing near as other humans pass, not noticing.

it would break my hard to watch them quash it with a shoe before it arrives,

wherever it is trying to arrive.

 

it can’t possibly drink the water.

it can’t possibly swim.

 

yet drawn to the wet,

the sparkly,

the reflected sky,

     however that must look from down so low

it marches on.

 

a small wave washes in.

knee deep for the ant, the water tosses its body around once

so it is facing the shore, and for a moment, i hope

it will return, i hope

it will take the water as a sign that it has come far enough.

 

the water recedes,

and the ant sinks on land, pulled into the wet sand that slurps

at human ankles, drowned to its midriff.

 

undeterred, it makes a few wide lunges, pulls itself up and out of the muck,

and turns back toward the water

the biggest labeled body in the world, the pacific.

 

the sand has dried just enough that its top layer is crust now,

and the bodybuilder walks.

one step.

another.

 

it pauses a moment to look south, 

body parallel now to the tide, ocean to its right, dry land to its left,

and i crouch down to take a picture,

to mark its presence, its existence, its blind courage.

 

as i do, i ask it, aloud

     “did you read the awakening? is that what this is?”

 

when i stand, a wave rushes in, mid-calf for me, and i retreat.

 

once the undertow finishes its work, sucking the salty licks back to

ocean mother’s body, i return, hoping for a miracle,

but it is gone, and my own walk is calling me home.

Black Ant Awakening | Alana Garrigues