Concerning the Cricket

Cricket chirping (stridulating). Photo: Jonathan Gramain,
Creative Commons, some rights reserved

The summer has gotten away from me. Between travel and a stupefying bout of Covid, I have not been able to write, or at least not well.

I returned to my vast archive of Listening Post essays, looking for a new poem hidden somewhere in all that prose. I found one that explored murderous rage and found that “The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven…”

Concerning the Cricket

The evening chorus and a bedtime book were beginning
to work their magic, when he burst into his mating cry, 
one love-sick cricket stridulating his heart out to find a mate.
Which would have made lovely music, were he not inside. 

And close by, too, to judge by the brain-melting volume.
And yet, indefinably nearby, in the way of very loud sounds
from very small sources – on the windowsill, under the bed,
in the closet, up in the drop ceiling – who can say where?

He would let up, from exhaustion no doubt, for a few minutes,
just long enough for me to begin to drop off – then fire up
the love machine again at maximum decibels. He kept this up
all night until the softer and sweeter dawn chorus began.

Sleep being beyond me, considering a can of Raid, I read up on
my maniacal chirper, learning that deep-fried house crickets
were counted among Asian delicacies. Not that I was hungry,
but deep-frying this particular specimen had a certain appeal.

As much murder has been done from the lack of sleep as has
been done from greed, jealousy or revenge. In any event, death
would surely have been his fate, could I accomplish the deed,
if this abominable racket continued on for another lost night.

But in the end I relented, sipping another cup of coffee, when 
I found him in daylight, small, pathetic, as exhausted as I was,
outside the bedroom door. He barely stirred as I slid paper
under him, dropping him into the singles scene out in tall grass.

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