At the rest home, it's Pet Therapy Day
and a discharged sergeant, 40 years
old, legs lost to a roadside explosion,
holds a fuzzy month-old ginger kitten,
whispers fond nonsense and buries
his rough face in the purring fur.

Across the sea, a skinny son, barely teen, torn
from mother and hut, is given greenshirt rank
and a machete. Soldiers promise him manhood
if he'll silence the comfort girl's wailing newborn
in the barren field. Weaklings starve. So the boy
obeys, and buries his own heart beside soft bones.

Near the tiny grave, ants silently wage formic warfare,
black versus red, the chitinous adults hard-programmed
to flourish in murderous places. They coldly nurture
captured larvae.  Sleeping pupae, legs folded like prayer,
dream of nectar, loyal aphids, and unshelled evolution.

Tomorrow, a boy with a glass ant farm gets a lecture
from his ginbottled father: "Grow the hell up already!"
The kid, keen observer of bug life and robot battles,
steadfast fan of Peter Pan and placid axolotls,
refuses.

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