The Supreme Moment

Charles Simic

As an ant is powerless
Against a raised boot,
And only has an instant
To have a bright idea or two.
The black boot so polished,
He can see himself
Reflected in it, distorted,
Perhaps made larger?
A huge monster ant
Shaking his arms and legs
Threateningly.

The boot may be hesitating,
Demurring, having misgivings,
Gathering cobwebs,
Dew?
Yes, and apparently no.

Charles Simic was a Serbian-American poet and essayist. Born in Belgrade, he and his family immigrated to America when he was in high school. He won numerous prizes for his poetry, including the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, and served as the United States Poet Laureate.
Originally published:
July 1, 1993

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