Colony

Betty Johnston

cool morning ants    
scurry           lightly
across the gutter’s    
parched concrete
weave pathways
swerve         past
aunts brothers
friends         switch
direction

inside
in every cell of me
I have lodgers
I am their concrete gutter
their garden
they are not me
but share me
rent me         occupy
the strata title unit
the granny flat

they raise their families here
generate my energy
without them
I cannot think this thought
or move my typing fingers
I cannot
breathe         and

inside their every cell
ants too have mitochondria
gum trees
are unthinkable without their chloroplasts
lodgers every one
with their own green language

their symbiotic histories        tracing back
to deep antiquity       via
the long-lasting intimacy of strangers


I have been a teacher, a parent, a gardener. I have lived in a number of countries, alone, with a partner, a family, a communal group. I have always liked reading and doing maths. For years I have written stories and more recently poems, some of which have been published in journals and collections.

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