©2019 by Stephen Schwei

              Fire Ants

In a plot designed

to conquer their nemesis,

demonstrate their dominance,

and provide a warning

to larger but timid tribes,

an aggressive tribe

stakes Tarzan out in the mid-day sun

spread eagle and face up,

his muscular frame

stretched and baking,

mere feet from three mounds

of fire ants.

Of course they find him,

crawling and swarming

over his captive body,

biting and stinging,

piercing his taut skin,

a massive attack

all over his body,

from his face and scalp

beneath his flowing hair

down his biceps and forearms,

his pecs and protruding nipples,

sensitive armpits

and abdominal ridges,

crawling under his back enough

to bite from below,

infiltrating his loincloth,

stinging everywhere,

down his sturdy and defined legs,

the rough soles of his feet,

the palms of his hands.

Within minutes, an army of hundreds

is assaulting the writhing jungle man,

his tormentors watching and jeering.

In a fit of rage, pain, and defiance,

Tarzan yanks up a stake,

one hand set free,

to quickly undo the other stakes,

his captors afraid to mix with the fire ants

watching in amazement

as the tortured Tarzan

frees himself, races, and dives

head first into a river

teeming with crocodiles

to rid himself

of the complicit insects

and escape downstream,

leaving his enemies

without the conquest they had hoped for.

  • Tarzan is a trademark of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Voice Recording