As Crickets Chip Away the Light

by Michael Kriesel



I quit the news, turning my back on the world

except for the weather robot on the radio:


chrome manikin sitting all day, all night

at a gray metal desk in a white broadcast booth


reading the page of our future over and over

into an old microphone big as a silver cucumber.


His monotone of highs and lows soothes me.

He’s always there doing his job, not beating his


platinum wife or confessing some sordid affair

with an orange Cuisinart to the priest


who listened to our hearts for fifty years.

People don’t want to grow up he confessed,


when asked what he learned in that dim cubicle.

I lotus too long on the floor and my foot falls asleep.


A frost advisory follows me into the kitchen.

I hop on one leg. This could have been heaven,


except for humans over-farming Eden’s fertile plains.

There’s always some Solomon cutting down Lebanon’s cedars,


building a house for a God who moves on.

It’s getting dark. I snag a beer and stumble out.


Crickets chip away the light, drowning out

the droning voice in the house behind me.


Squatting on the steps, I watch a line

of fireflies stream the interstate,


remembering a firefight a friend confessed,

a navy buddy. We were drinking Mad Dog 20/20


when he told me how the tracers in

the river’s mirror were an eerie beauty.


I press the sweaty can against my neck

and stare at a cattail’s frozen explosion.


We’re more than just a tribe of monkeys

writing angry haiku. It matters, what we do.



From Rattle #34, Winter 2010.