Small Wonder

Little blue box some tacks came in is not moving by itself. I hear a faint repeating ring like a work bell near the baseboard. On my belly, head in my hands, I see four ants the irresistible hue of construction workers in late August. I watch them from half to a larger pie slice of an hour move the little blue tack box toward a plastic amber pill bottle stuck in the middle of an ice cream spill even older.

One by one a cast of little character ants methodically carries seed resembling amaranth and tollhouse cookie crumbs I’d know anywhere to the top of the amber pill bottle and drops them in. Meanwhile the little blue tack box arrives and is slid into position next to the pill bottle. One singularly leggy ant jumps up and down on a stowaway tack to hold the box in its place.

A bell clangs heartily, unmistakably the dinner bell and all goes dark. Except there is this glowing inside a Tic-Tac box in a grove of dust bunnies within ant-walking distance of the little blue tack box. And in the Tic-Tac’s glowing center, a spark I have to get down on my hands and knees to see and all I see is wonder and the ants do too.


Singing for Supper

How far we gotta go yet, I ask, and Mom says about a hundred mules and in no time we’re there at East Meats West Steakhouse where I’ve already decided on surf ‘n turf with three glops of frozen custard after and there have to be at least sixty seventy mules tied up outside, some to fence rails, some to the big light pole in the parking lot that looks like a broken down carousel and some mules, not tied up at all who just wander, two out onto the roadway where one got clobbered and is being snuck in through East Meats West Steakhouse’s back kitchen door, cancel the turf, and all that braying, it’s begun to attract the attention of the town choir filling up inside but who are now staggering out and harmonizing unlike anything I’ve ever heard, bit barbershop, not quite tabernacle, still heavenly-inspired like what must have raised up out of the ark after the water went down and it looks like everyone at East Meats West Steakhouse is taking a mule home, no mule would be without one and no home would be home without a mule and many got to go along to church, some even got baptized and those with good ears got to bray in the Christmas story pageant and occasionally on street corners with bongos and guitars and the pace of life in Stubbornville, Ohio has picked up quite a bit and the only things out of tune now are the flies.


Charles Springer has degrees in anthropology and is an award-winning painter. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is published in over seventy journals including The Cincinnati Review, Faultline, Windsor Review, Packingtown Review and Tar River Poetry, among others. His first collection of poems entitled Juice is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing. He writes from Pennsylvania.