Closing Time

By: Melissa Martin

 

The ant tip-tap-toes his way up the slanty pages,

each page set slightly closer to the book’s dimple than the one beneath it

creating perfect little ant-sized stepping stairs.

 

Perhaps he was daunted when he started up these stairs

not knowing there was an end, seeing only a slanty incline, and,

being an ant, not knowing that the straightest path is the quickest path.

 

Perhaps his journey started straight, but we only see him now as he contours the pages.

Maybe he’s tired.

He probably foresaw this exhaustion, stood at the foot of the stairs gaping upwards,

a pause,

before taking a verumptuous breath that bulged his breast

and shot his shoulders straight through his ears.

And still he marched onwards.

 

But, alas, he is just an ant. We do not know these things.

 

What we do know is that he victoriously conquers the layered pages

and is now skittering on the ice and ink of lettered paper.

 

The book jiggles as the girl holding it laughs.

Being at a picnic, there is a lot to notice beyond a story book.

Perhaps the girl feared being bored or lonely, or lonely and bored,

which is why she tugged along her literary companion.

 

Her book is the lonely one, open purposelessly to an unread page with no attention save the small ant crawling over its face.

Perhaps the ant tickles the book

and the book’s laughter is the cause of its fluttering pages,

not the spring breeze.

 

We see the ant continue his journey, the slants turning swiftly to slides

as he crests the hill of pages

and continues towards the crack in the center of the book.

 

The ant traipses around merrily now, enjoying the giggling pages and jiggling giant above.

 

Enjoying the day so much that perhaps he doesn’t even mind when the pages take on a vertical angle, the cheery sun rapidly obscured by the edges of the book, his spine folding and crunching and his tiny ant toes tickling his tiny ant brain as the book closes with him inside.

 

The girl runs off to play.

 

 

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About the Author

Melissa Martin is a sophomore at UNCC pursuing dual degrees in psychology and English. Her talents include eating multiple Cosmic Brownies a day without tiring of them and slipping the word “incredible” into every conversation. She is incredibly fond of her friends, family, and reading.
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