One summer I lived in a potato field where I was poisoned by pesticides. The poisoning was like a wasting disease, and it became difficult to think. At parties I would sit like at the movies. I was in love, and writing a book. I was surprised I could become ill while happy. Red ants swarmed over a blue agave, flowing in rivers with their tiny, angry hearts. I was trimming dead stalks, wearing flip-flops and crouched low. Two ants leapt onto my hand, and I shook them off. The bite of a fire ant itches for weeks before forming a blister filled with sticky sap. I felt the first bite on the top of my foot. Four more bit my hand where the scissors looped the thumb. I thought they would not bite me because I was helping the plant.

Laurie Stone
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