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An Ant hefting her Penance: Non-fiction by Aremu Adams Adebisi

I watched intensely as an ant was hefting her penance in a steady gait. She was maneuvering through the rough walls seemingly singing of sweet and honey — of home, family and friends. At once I felt jealous. How could she be so cheerful about being punished? How could she?

Then I decided to add more weight to her burden. So I made the road turbulent with my thumb. I blocked every path she might be sensing to pass through. And whenever she seemed to be getting around the barricade, I made an artificial wind with my mouth.

I blew a little. She seemed rooted to the spot. I blew a little too much. She seemed unwavering. Then I blew wildly, almost exhausting my lungs. It finally affected. However, she wasn’t to be blown away as I had thought she would.

Then I reasoned about pinning her down, choking life out of her. She should know there is hierarchy in creation. Nothing is equal — the fingers, wealth, reasoning, gender—  even the angels are not equal. It is thus an affront to me, as a higher animal, to be dared by her resolution.

And this is exactly what I did. I pinned her down with my thumb and watched her lament in pain, drained. I knew her brothers would be out to look for her. They would search everywhere in vain, grief written on their faces. Legs wearying back home. But they won’t think much about her, for their will to live, to gather more food, is far greater than the death of this diligent worker.



Image: Rakesh Rocky via Flickr

Aremu Adams Adebisi
Aremu Adams Adebisi
Aremu Adams Adebisi is a Nigerian writer. His works have appeared on distinct literary platforms like the Mistymountain Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Wrr, etc. Some of his works recently appeared on Kalahari Review and Dwartsonline. He is an undergraduate of Economics and believes Literature is more a Social-science than an Art. He lives and writes in Lagos and currently is working on his first electronic chapbook Transcendence.


  1. Waoh. A wonderful piece of work. So inspiring. It made me reflect on the Kenyan politics. Where the new term is accept and move on. Oh accept that the elections was stolen and move on. Accept that your business was reduced to ashes and move on. Accept that your son the only son was killed by anti riot police and move on. Oh accept that you will you will pay for more debts as the government officials are on rampage signing and signing for more debts. Oh accept and move on. Move on to where?

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