A Nature Poem
Live ants know dead ants
by the smell of their decay:
they drag each corpse away
to keep disease outside the nest.
So if you daub a live ant
with harmless oleic acid, the rest
believe beyond all doubt
it's dead, and must be carried out.
Then nothing—not writhing
or jaws or mad legs tearing—
none of that beats the instinct,
exact and chemical,
that knows what it knows.
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