Meditation on the Death of the Ants

The ants make mounds of their dead
after I have flooded them out
with the water hose. I squat,
hunched over, wondering at them.
I am human here and no good
substitute for benevolence,
having chosen efficiency in my life
over life itself. The murderer in me
watches the wounded in them,
thinking of my friend who is
dead today from the flood tides
of his own lost hope, thinking
of the thousands who are dead
by drowning on the shores of an island.
What is the whole world to them
has gone under water with water
and more water threatening still.
I was told the rainbow means
the world will never go down
this way again, but this is
only true if you do not live
too close to the shore.
Some people, like my friend,
like these we mourn so today,
live out whole lives too close
to the shore. They cannot help it
if this is where they were born.
What substitutes for benevolence
for them? This is a question
I am not supposed to ask,
but so little remains off limits
when you still hold the hose
in your hand and so many drowned
begin to mound at your feet.

I tried today, my dear dead friend,
to make an origami of hope for you.
I am no more successful now
as I twist myself into an emotional
paper crane, doing nothing
more than asking.