Each day, the ant nibbles at the mountain. She knows it’s a mountain because she feels
its weight, its knowledge, its spirit. She takes small bites and carries them away. Sometimes,
large pieces fall and she struggles to balance them on her body.
She uses saliva to dissolve the rocks. She keeps at it every day without knowing how long it will take
or if she’ll ever be done. Bite by bite, she hopes that one day she’ll understand what it all means.
One day, the ant will have moved the mountain, or ingested it, and started on the new one.
Just like us, the objects long to be together. The neckties hang out in Brooks Brothers’ windows.
There is a conference of umbrellas in London; a summit of Russian hats in Moscow; and a shoe party
at my back door.
Love every day, said the fruit fly. The butterflies don’t know
what’s written on their wings: the Life-is-surprisingly-short ideogram.
The white rabbit rides a bike and stops at the traffic light. He wears black shorts
printed with pursed red lips and drags behind him a sign for the penthouse bar
at 250 Madison Avenue. In the sticky heat, I wonder if he has marmalade on skin
under that fur. He looks at me as if he knows something I don’t, and clinks the bell.
In Herald Square, the Statue of Liberty has lunch with the silver man.
The copper robot tells them jokes from when he used to be golden. The statue
complains that her feet hurt from standing all day.
I wonder if she lives on Staten Island and takes the ferry home.
I imagine her lifting her skirt over puddles and nodding to the other lady in the harbor.
I wonder if the silver man sleeps with the paint on, or if he showers. How the paint runs off
his face like mercury, revealing a strange person in the mirror. How the bathroom glints
in the moonlight, and all the pipes shine, silvery inside, as he reaches for the towel.
I can tell you all about the revolution of the flies. They stained the photo of the beloved leader
in the newspaper that lined the table. Oh, the crowds, the spattering of sauce! The grease running across
the printed page! In the kitchen, history was made. You can read it all in the stains on the wall.
Only the mess survives.
Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in 5 a.m., Meridian, Harpur Palate, Word Riot, The Red Wheelbarrow, Cutthroat, Green Mountains Review, and many others.
A two time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and for Best of the Net, she is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada, 2012), To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervená Barva Press, forthcoming) and A Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada, forthcoming). She also published the chapbooks The System (Cold Hub Press, New Zealand, 2012), With the Strike of a Match (White Knuckles Press, 2011), and Eternity’s Orthography (Finishing Line Press, 2007).
Together with Paul Doru Mugur and Adam J. Sorkin, Serea co-edited and co-translated The Vanishing Point That Whistles, an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Poetry (Talisman House Publishing, 2011). She also translated from the Romanian Adina Dabija’s Beautybeast (NorthShore Press, 2012).
Claudia Serea belongs to the poetry group The Red Wheelbarrow Poets in Rutherford, New Jersey, and maintains their blog. She lives in New Jersey and works in New York for a major financial company. Visit her blog at