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Alan Botsford-IV

Antaeus in the modern world




Antaeus bearing the world up

On his strong shoulders doesn’t notice

The ants in column after column

Marching up his legs from the ground

Beneath his feet. He would have sung

His anthem to the sky had he but time,

But since that was running short, he

Stood his ground holding up the world,

For the hoot the owl at night gave…



Little Bo-Peep finds his way

Through the bramble bushes of power.

He better than most knows the late hour,

He who can undo the fragment

And paste wholeness in a word.

It’s what we do now, he thinks,

The reign of terror all around him

While, in cold silence, he blinks.

(And you know wherever he goes,

The lawyers aren’t far behind.)


The weight gravity gives him

Is not his own, the cup of coffee

He delights in under the canopy

Of officialdom has his blood

Racing at a slow boil, as Brother Ant

Spells “great” J-O-H-N. Hello, John.

It’s not these and it’s not those, he adds.

The Father who’s come to see the gift

Not to be exploited but to be loved

(as heads nod off to sleep, if not

in agreement, thinking to themselves:

“I wish never to die alone.”)


Is he going to be here another five

Years, they’re all wondering. Woof-woof

Comes an answer, heard through an open

Window from far away. His magic

Masters neither time nor space, not

Even the expression on his rival’s

Face. No, the magic he wields, wanes.


While the Mrs. sits at home

Pounding the table yelling “More!”

Able to state the obvious

In a not so devious fashion. David

Bowie, meanwhile, shags his next

Lover backstage, the concert over

And done with, a memory made

Skin on skin for a future tall tale

That grows smaller with each telling.

Who’d do me this way, were his last

Words, not even the silence would answer…