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


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