For Kerry’s Camera Flash prompt over at Real Toads.



“Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.” Oscar Wilde

Figures swarm the bridge over
the rushing spring river –
figures looking like ants or termites swarming.
So intent on their business
looking neither to the left or right
or up or down only straight ahead
The termites swarm
never seeing the splayed bloated naked body
tumbling in the rushing river,
going past them, underneath them
looking like a starfish or
a blowup doll.
It finally wedges itself on the bank
into a nest of branches
finding its way home.
The termites swarm
over the bridge.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jim
    Jun 03, 2018 @ 17:20:31

    I respect the termites and the ants, such busy workers. That probably started young, with an Aosop’s Fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper. You built anticipation nicely here that this one would make it ashore.


  2. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jun 03, 2018 @ 18:30:13

    Ah, get to see the darker side of you in this one. Love the surprise ending.


  3. Sherry Marr
    Jun 03, 2018 @ 21:25:49

    An interesting perspective on the prompt. I like it! I can see that bloated body everyone is too busy to notice. Well done.


  4. kim881
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 01:56:15

    This poem has echoes of Kafka, Toni! It is dark, with the termites suggesting a rotten society and the ‘splayed bloated naked body / tumbling in the rushing river…
    looking like a starfish or / a blowup doll’. That image is going to stay with me all day!


  5. Brendan
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 04:16:06

    These termites remind me somehow of Rilke’s ‘bees of the invisible” only the reverse, the manifest evidence of a swarming human civilization … And that body in the water, is it Mother Earth’s? Enough is left in haze here to make it all the more powerful. … Well done … (Especially humid season here in Florida and lots of swarming in our house. Yuck.)


  6. sanaarizvi
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 07:53:17

    Love the darker perspective on the photo challenge, Toni. Awe-inspiring write 💜


  7. hedgewitch
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 09:34:07

    Life and death are partners here, though not in an especially ‘pretty’ way for human sensibilities. I too saw those figures as insects–perhaps an inescapable image when seeing humanity en masse, but here you give it your own twistiness.


  8. annell4
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 09:37:43

    Yes, I think sometimes we are like ants, and are only focused on what is in front of us, so we don’t see the bloated body floating by.


  9. Kerry
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 14:07:05

    This is a most astounding narrative, Toni. the lack of concern and narrow focus of those little ‘ants’ could so easily overlook the evidence of violence taking place on the margins.


  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 06, 2018 @ 12:34:23

    Yes… we see the termites (and maybe we are the termites) … but we have to look around to see the big picture… we have to understand what is happening.


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