To wake at dawn with a winged heart
                                —Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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The ants boil from their nest
             out of the sand.
                        All along the path

more winged ants scramble
            from nests, crawl up tree trunks,
                        launch into the air.

Up and down the long Lake Michigan shore
            they form dark clouds
                        above the tree line.

Miles of ants. Miles
            of separate nests
                        coordinate their nuptial flight.

The gulls notice. They fly, veering
            through the ant clouds. More gulls
                        than seem possible,

the first of many obstacles. The ants mate
            on the wing, drop to the ground,
                        shed their wings,

try to make a new home.
            How many millions and millions?                                    
                        Profligate Nature.

We noticed, you and I.
            That day, that fall weekend,
                        those long walks, talks.

We had our own obstacles.
                        about something or other.

Years later I often feel my heart
            take flight in the morning,
                        alight at night, our nest.

—Steve Tomasko