Beckian Fritz Goldberg

The Cricket
August 18, 2022 Goldberg Beckian Fritz

The Cricket


You too have risen at midnight
shoe in your hand
hunting the shrill cricket,


shaken off dream
with its elegant cigars
and streets that never led


to your destination, listened–
the lamp on, magnifying
your substance as shadow–


heard nothing.  No one
will sing until it’s dark again
and you have lain down.  It is


God’s law.  The cricket chirps
louder than an ambulance
back in the black night. You too


have wanted only to lie in bed
until you grow small, until
you can smell pines again


or maybe lilacs because
it has been forever
and you are dying again


which feels like waiting.  Dear Friend
here is a little quiet
so quiet you can feel


a distant car go by
like a shimmer in your breastbone,
your breath in the past.


Sleep with me now
while the moon turns
the color of ice.  This cricket


will die before you do,
trill in the underworld
like an alarm set


to wake the spirits
who need their sleep
even more


than we do, for they
have paid the price
of forgetfulness.  We still


hear our fathers, we still need
our mothers, but we cannot
help them and we


cannot turn away.  The cricket
hides in his corner
with his bright pulse


sexing the dark.  You too
have peered out the window
at shapes uncertain


listening for a location
while the stars reveal
their torrid love affairs.  It’s blue


as the sea.  You need only
to smell the sweet acacia
once more.  The cricket


persists.  His love
is loud as a police whistle
in your shadow of a room


that soon will be stuffed with ghosts—
and then it ceases.  Silence
rings out.  Now


it’s all about trust,
the resin scent from sweet acacia.
Because it has been forever—


and all our problems
are the old problems,
be ye bug or man.

Beckian Fritz Goldberg received her M.F.A. in 1985 from Vermont College and is the author of seven volumes of poetry, Body Betrayer (Cleveland State University Press, l99l,) In the Badlands of  Desire (Cleveland State University, l993,) Never Be the Horse, winner of the University of Akron Poetry Prize (University of Akron Press, l999), Twentieth Century Children, a limited edition chapbook, winner of the Indiana Review chapbook prize (Graphic Design Press, Indiana University, l999), Lie Awake Lake, winner of the 2004 Field Poetry Prize (Oberlin College Press, 2005, ) The Book of Accident (University of Akron Press, 2006,)  Reliquary Fever: New and Selected Poems (New Issues Press, 2010) and Egypt From Space (Oberlin, 2013.)  Goldberg has been awarded the Theodore Roethke Poetry Prize from Poetry Northwest, The Gettysburg Review Annual Poetry Prize, two Arizona Commission on the Arts Poetry Fellowships (1993, 2001) and two Pushcart Prizes.  Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies such as New American Poets of the 90’s, Best American Poetry 1995, American Alphabets:25 Contemporary Poets, Best American Poetry 2011,Best American Poetry 2013 and in journals, including The American Poetry Review, Field, The Gettysburg Review, Harper’s, The Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, and many others.  She currently lives in California.