To wake at dawn with a winged heart
—Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
The ants boil from their nest
out of the sand.
All along the path
more winged ants scramble
from nests, crawl up tree trunks,
launch into the air.
Up and down the long Lake Michigan shore
they form dark clouds
above the tree line.
Miles of ants. Miles
of separate nests
coordinate their nuptial flight.
The gulls notice. They fly, veering
through the ant clouds. More gulls
than seem possible,
the first of many obstacles. The ants mate
on the wing, drop to the ground,
shed their wings,
try to make a new home.
How many millions and millions?
We noticed, you and I.
That day, that fall weekend,
those long walks, talks.
We had our own obstacles.
about something or other.
Years later I often feel my heart
take flight in the morning,
alight at night, our nest.