PoetryIssue 16 | October 2012

The Leaf Cutter Ants

by Pepper Trail

Aloft in our jaws we hold the world
Disassembled, slice by slice, into pieces
Fitted to our use, carried forward
Blindly, one behind the other, in a line
Wavering and unceasing, among
Vines, stones, waterdrops and rainpools
All merely things, things in the way
We move forever on with our burden of green
Toward our city in the earth, the red
Towers and deep shafts, the dark
Chambers where the green will blacken
And grow our fungal bread, the end
Of all those thousand leaves and flowers
Cut and carried and buried by us
The one food for which every day
We take the world apart

About the author

Trail is an ornithologist, photographer, natural history guide, and poet. His work has taken him around the world, with time living in Panama, Suriname, American Samoa, and Vietnam.  Recent memorable trips include a circumnavigation of the Black Sea, and an inspection of crocodile farms in the Mekong Delta.  His poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Borderlands, Comstock Review, Kyoto Journal and Spillway.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok