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About this poet

Ravi Shankar is the author of Deepening Groove (National Poetry Review Press, 2011) and the forthcoming What Else Could It Be: Ekphrastics and Collaborations (Carolina Wren Press, 2015). He teaches at Central Connecticut State University and in the City University of Hong Kong’s MFA Program. Shankar lives in Chester, Connecticut.

Ants

Ravi Shankar
One is never alone. Saltwater taffy colored 
beach blanket spread on a dirt outcropping 
pocked with movement. Pell-mell tunneling,  

black specks the specter of beard hairs swarm, 
disappear, emerge, twitch, reverse course 
to forage along my shin, painting pathways 

with invisible pheromones that others take 
up in ceaseless streams. Ordered disarray, 
wingless expansionists form a colony mind, 

no sense of self outside the nest, expending 
summer to prepare for winter, droning on
through midday heat. I watch, repose, alone.

Copyright © 2010 by Ravi Shankar. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2010 by Ravi Shankar. Used with permission of the author.

Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar is the author of Deepening Groove (National Poetry Review Press, 2011) and the forthcoming What Else Could It Be: Ekphrastics and Collaborations (Carolina Wren Press, 2015). He teaches at Central Connecticut State University and in the City University of Hong Kong’s MFA Program. Shankar lives in Chester, Connecticut.

by this poet

poem
Between forest and field, a threshold 
like stepping from a cathedral into the street—
the quality of air alters, an eclipse lifts, 

boundlessness opens, earth itself retextured 
into weeds where woods once were.
Even planes of motion shift from vertical

navigation to horizontal quiescence:   
there’s a
poem
(Haiku Erasure of Lord Byron's "Lines Inscribed Upon a Cup Formed from a Skull")

Start spirit; behold
the skull. A living head loved
earth. My bones resign

the worm, lips to hold
sparkling grape's slimy circle,
shape of

poem

Porous the punchline
spoken through wads
of lettuce at lunchtime
by the septuagenarian
vegetarian who has never
flashed a peace sign,
nor could distinguish it
from a Vulcan salute.
He’s not the font
of the jokes he paces
in front of the mirror—
even the one