I tell my father, there is a cricket

In the basement

And he says it is cricket season, son

I descend the basement stairs

Stepping into chest-high water

The washer and dryer drowned

Electric humming

I slosh around the perimeter, listening.

And there one cricket is

Floating on the water

Its antennae dot-dot-dashing

As though it were a day at the beach


I wade to within reach

Grab it with my hand

Hold it underwater in my fist

And drown it

its life exiting fast

A gust a breeze dot-dot-dash

All the while I think of epic battles

Of the Great White Whale.


I wake up perpendicular to the bed

Feet pressed onto the wall

My father watching me

The beacon of his cigarette an ember

And then I wake up again

And then I wake up again

And one day I will not awaken

My boy’s bird voice whimpering

Drowned by sorrow

Helpless as a cricket and as soft

Antennae flailing in smoke-filled light


About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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