Matthew Walsh


Fact state ants are such great communicators,
but not with me. Stippled in the bathroom
sink, drops of water in their teeth, they are not
listening. I said oh my god please leave immediately
ants bring to me evil memories of seeds with legs.
Convo is a two-way street. Asked my roommate
to get ant traps cause I had no money. He said hey, sure no
problem. I get it—winter died and flowers were left,
and the ants, in their bunk beds are done with sleep.
The ground is warming. Spring, fair weather, tulip air.
I had a vision I stomped to the backyard, unroofed their nest
and yelled, hey are we copacetic? They responded with bombastic,
truly fantastic clicking, laughters— not an apology
which begets my apology. I told myself calm down
that is just a daydream. In Toronto I rented a dank apartment
in Mimico Village, great price for two rooms, a great big
bed bug nest. Every night they were all over me, crawled
out of my sleeves on the TTC—tortured me psychologically.
My cat left me. No reasoning in bed bugs, naturally. Watermelon
seeds with feet. I froze my novels and poetry. I could not read.
Stayed a year and immediately left when the lease
set me free. The only insect I love is the potato
bug. Cute, armored, and totally sweet. Or silverfish,
so quick seeing them is make-believe. My bathroom
is a sanctuary, where I soak in eucalyptus, eat
my Quarter Pounder with cheese. I hate it when ants raise up
their antennas, communicating to the colony. In the grass by their home,
I lay kumquat, dank pineapple, and build them a pool of ice tea.
as offerings.  We try to be sympathetic to the ants.
The label on the trap states ants take the poison
back to their queen—but how can we know truth from facts?
I set traps, coliseums of death on the kitchen floor,
the bathroom counter where they drink water
like buffalo. I try to relax with the Sunday flea
market crowd, check out the foundling curiosities humans
have given up— Arachnophobia for 2.19.  Buy morning glory
seeds, zucchini, a spade for gardening—snap peas, legumes, bitter
rapini. Everyone is elbowing, but I will fight for the sweet
sweet deals on Nintendo Wii. People are so pushy, packed
like sardines. No one says hey what’s up, please stop
stepping on my feet, I find haven by the soda machine.

Matthew Walsh is a queer poet from Nova Scotia whose work has most recently appeared in The Malahat Review. Their debut poetry collection was published with Ice House/Goose Lane this spring titled: These are not the potatoes of my youth

Twitter: @croonjuice