Intelligence by Ken Poyner

The ants we found to be the size of house cats. They wore ruts in the land, created virtual canyons, at times encouraged river beds. The enriching surprise was that the aardvarks were the size of garden spiders. One ant could feed an entire clan of fidgeting aardvarks for weeks. Everywhere there were decaying ant bodies only ten percent consumed, the clan of aardvarks that claimed the kill bravely sated and without means to preserve the meat. The aardvarks morosely move on, a good kill mostly wasted, their plenty burned as sustaining calories; with a need to plan for the next monstrous ant hunt, a need to forget the fellow clan members who in the wondrously coordinated campaign were by one ant—surrendering reluctantly, or gloriously surviving—or another culled from the collective. We have seen the bright in the aardvarks’ eyes. We have seen how splendidly they map murder. One day we will make profitable pact with them and plot the demise of these wearying ants, their ruts, the mysticism that is aardvark lore. We will make fabulous sense of this teasing place.

Ken Poyner’s latest collection of brief fictions, Constant Animals, can be located through links at, or at He has had recent work out in Analog, Asimov’s, Poet Lore, and at several other places, both print and web. He has one wife, four cats, and two fish. What else can you want?