menu Arc Poetry Magazine

And the Second Winner of the “Arc Award of Awesomeness” is . . .

self-photo with prizes by the author

Owen Schaefer, for the poem “I poison the ants and regret it”!


Sarah Tsiang and the Arc Poetry Magazine Board also selected three runners-up:

      • “Week 4” by Catriona Wright
      • “Illanelle, March 2020” by Robbie Chesick
      • “Apex Predators” by Chris Jennings


i poison the ants and regret it



at their size the backyard could be countries

travelled France the rose bush the shed

Austria where we went skiing in February

even as all this was beginning mouths covered

on the flight despite stares overreacting

everyone thought but anyway the ants

crossed into the kitchen in March

through that crack in the baseboard

i used bleach to kill their chemical trails

but they waded through it dying

five of them bodies knotted and

an hour later two had vanished then the rest

my wife says the living claim the dead

for food one neighbour now at Sainsbury’s

texts to ask if we need anything our street

caring for its own i prefer to think

those ants were taken to be mourned

but i put a bait trap out anyway

imagine you are far from home you

bring back that souvenir back to family

back to friends all of us home now

grandfathers mothers uncles aunts

some sick some dying and you say

but i didn’t know just imagine that

today i walked the thousand ant miles to shed

insecticides inside seeds i haven’t planted

and no ants now the streets almost empty




You still have time to enter Arc’s June Award of Awesomeness!