And now it’s night and the crickets are revving their slight engines.
I have pulled a plastic lawn chair from a stack on the patio
and I’m sitting in the dark, facing the fences of my neighbors
in the sway of crickets. They are a machinery, these hundred crickets,
throttling their engines in a hundred cul-de-sacs. Now, and now,
and now. A synchronicity of crickets, each a set of pistons sparking
in their separate yards, deep in a row of gladiolas, under a barbecue grill,
in the spout of a metal rain gutter.
I try to imagine an individual cricket: black leather jacket,
leather chaps, boots chromed at the toe. I try to picture him
with a handlebar moustache, or, better still, a pair of muttonchops,
and a steely, devil-may-care look in his eye.
But all I can see is this balding man stepping out into the night
in thin grey socks and a terry-cloth bathrobe,
swaying on the dull hinges of his feet, back and forth, back
and forth, to the relentless heave of evening’s swinging chain.
This poem was first published in Cimarron Review, Issue 168 (Summer 2009)