Crickets at Midnight

I want to write something tonight
that will be remembered.
I don’t want to be forgotten.
I don’t want to forget
what crickets sound like

in the Virginia summer.
I do want to stop wishing
I had someone to hold tonight,
but my body doesn’t care
what I want or don’t want.

I hear the crickets.
You know what they sound like.
Do I need to tell you everything?
No. I want to tell you one thing
and then fall into a dreamless sleep.

I want to speak the truth of my heart,
but don’t you dare tell me to speak.
I don’t make it a habit to be told things.
I let the crickets speak for me.
They do a good job.

I’m up past my bedtime
but not ready to sleep yet.
I’m not ready to die either.
Death doesn’t care
if I speak the truth of my heart

or if I never speak again.
And life? Life speaks for itself.
I’ll speak for this self, alone
in this dark room, listening.
I don’t feel the presence of God.

I’m not thinking of anyone
I once knew nor of those
I’ll know in the future.
I’m here. Of course, I want more
than what is here, so I suffer.

I don’t want to be forgotten, and so
I suffer more. But I won’t forget
what’s here: the crickets here
that I hear from outside the window.
And there is no one who can tell me—

tell this small, suffering, forgettable self—
that hearing this music on a July night
does not make me proud
to be an ear, and glad
to be alive.

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