A ring of chocolate milk
at the bottom of a glass draws a crowd
of ants from the next county.
I pour a confection of sugar water
and Borax into a bottlecap,
makeshift watering hole. The death-sweat
returns to the boy you fell in love with,
Augustine, but your wretched life
is only dear because you loved
the boy. When the ants meet on the mantle
in my study, they touch together
antennae as if shaking hands the way
you shook his perhaps, testing
the grip for callouses or tenderness.
Funny how first meetings make
a permanent impression. I once saw
a pair of houseflies mating
on the windowsill, their connection
slow as a data transfer from USB
to the port it’s docked in,
and thought about my parents. Outside,
the rock salt I sprinkled eats away
at the ice the snowmelt hardened into.
Cameron Morse was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, Portland Review and South Dakota Review. His first poetry collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press's 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is Baldy (Spartan Press, 2020). He lives with his wife Lili and two children in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.
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