Aussie Ants
Jan Ball

It must have been lunch before children
and winter because we didn’t swim
in the backyard pool; we lingered over
the silky oak table instead, almost as
relaxed as swagmen camped by a billabong.

Probably it was Henry who swiveled
to notice the huge bottle of Benedictine
mounted on a metal wine cradle that Ken
had bought me for my birthday months
ago and slurred, pointing at the sideboard,
“How about that to end a perfect afternoon?”

Ken lifted the whole contraption and carried
it into the kitchen setting it on the orange
formica counter-top he had renovated, beside
the wood-burning stove where we had cooked
cocida madrileno in an old iron cauldron: chick
peas, a whole chicken, a piece of brisket, chorizo
links and vegetables.

We selected six liquor glasses from the kitchen
cabinet and pressed the neck of the bottle down
to pour the amber liquid into the first glass, but
as we poured, dead ants tumbled out with the flow
of the liquor. After a nod from me, Ken quickly
rifled through the implements drawer to find
a small strainer to sieve the insects, then we carried
the glasses back to the dining room and handed
them to our friends with a smile, while they
sniffed, sipped and smacked their lips.

Jan Ball’s poems appear in journals such as: Calyx, Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Nimrod, and Phoebe, in Great Britain, Canada, India and the U.S. Jan’s two chapbooks: accompanying spouse (2011) and Chapter of Faults (2014) were published with Finishing Line Press. Jan’s first book, I Wanted to Dance with My Father, is forthcoming in September from Finishing Line Press. When not working out, gardening at their farm or traveling, Jan and her husband like to cook for friends.