Search this website

Company RSS


11 April, 2019: Company



by Ben Stein
Two fat carpenter ants
set up camp in the hair
on my calf as I sat on their
bench and penciled a guess
in the crossword. (MENACE,
I tried, for 5 Across. It was
incorrect.) Then I got distracted
by the Mother’s Day scene
on Coventry: A snake lady,
the brawling puppies, old
guy whose bow tie matched
his motorcycle. The ants
nestled just shy of my knee,
rode me home, a tickle I barely
noticed. They disembarked
in the apartment, met the cats
and made for the kitchen.
They will be right at home;
if Julie & I had a mascot, it
would be a crumb. And if they
can stay then so too can a certain
shower curtain spider, since Julie
is away for a week. A rented carriage
house outside Atlanta, where she,
I’m sure, slips her foot from her flip
flop, slaps flat some poor southern
spider on the bathroom floor,
pinches it in a square of toilet paper,
and flushes. My Ohio spider
gets a goosebump: Someone
must’ve stepped on my grave,
she says, and asks the ants
if they felt a draft.
“Company” by Ben Stein. Copyright Ben Stein, 2018. Used by permission of the author.
Ben Stein lives in Cleveland with his wife, Julie. Along with the cats, there’s now a dog too. A crawlspace for the spiders. Ants in the kitchen, compost full of worms. Microbes abound. Ben’s chapbook about making mistakes and being afraid all the time, Springtime and Important Things to Remember, is available from Red Flag Poetry. It features illustrations by Cleveland Heights artist Chad Berry, who also knows a thing or two about bugs. Follow Ben on Twitter.


Reverse one of your poems by writing it backwards, last word first, ending with the first word. Then revise. This search engine will do it for you (and provide other prompts).

Because... well
Because, won’t I
But could! I could! should!
I should!
I time the make talent, the better?
All it make but world, my could?
Change I because I should
But should I do could
I old growing
And stale getting lingering,
Stalling, repeat lather,
Rinse, that done there, could?
Been I because I should
But should I so could I
4/11/2019 9:59:35 PM

Bettyann Kovacs
write one of my poems backwards. What? How
unproductive and kinda dumb.

So many wonderful poetry forms to explore but this is chosen from a brain gone numb!?
4/11/2019 6:41:47 PM

Reversed Forming

galaxy --
into spirit your ocean,
form from the drag
yourself to which on space pepper
mint and time you
apple-peel, give grass. sawdust,
drink into boned--
bend marble thin, you.
Wire for parts air
that cleanly give neck
and you’re around roses, the fire,
cinder hoof with turf -- the you,
burn with dirt, the time.

Take a rain little out
a squeezing sunrise, holding
in cloud like red
well wear You ellipse. around
a kiting silk Florida
whirling of coast off
the hot wind grey
hurricane storm are tornado?

You in the lightning
flickering sun, the center
of the through run and moon
juice drink to want you legs
until your wraps open
mummy windpipe your neck
ties from your hair sweat
pulls and foam loves to
that belong you do, club breath?

What cranberry and streaking
jet comet dappled race
born to a were you out
when gave bone leg your star
when, like you,
imploding folded that one name
the collapsed your
is What.
4/11/2019 3:11:48 PM

Forward goes backward
Lives lived deconstruct lived lives
Backward goes forward
4/11/2019 12:11:05 PM

Daune Robinson Calovini
Love this. It made me smile. Especially, the thought that if we had a mascot, it would be a crumb! That is fantastic.
4/11/2019 10:07:17 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.