September 2017

A Cricket Has Been Calling

            by Wendy Drexler


As I wash my cereal bowl,

my blue coffee cup,

as I fill the feeder, a cricket

has been calling. I listen

for some inflection, an iamb,

I am, I am, any pattern or meaning,

but there is none, or nearly none—

just the scrape of wings, emphatic,

vaguely duple-time, insistent, tireless.

Or else a pause, and I think, ah then,

something is settled, for once.

But the cricket resumes,

an engine unrequited, an equation

to be solved, growing large

as a sound can grow—and I think

of the woman crying at the bus stop

this morning, and her children,

grieving for their father,

who is never coming back,

and I wish I could find a place

for that cricket to rest,

a place to rest

for everyone who calls and shakes

and has not been consoled.


“A Cricket Has Been Calling” is from Before There Was Before, Wendy Drexler’s new collection of poetry published in March 2017 by Iris Press, The poem first appeared in the journal, Common Ground.

Wendy Drexler is also the author of Western Motel (Turning Point, 2012) and the chapbook Drive-Ins, Gas Stations, the Bright Motels (Pudding House, 2007). Her first children’s book, Buzz, Ruby, and Their City Chicks, coauthored with Joan Fleiss Kaplan, was published by Ziggy Owl Press in 2016. Her poems have appeared widely in such journals as Barrow Street, Ibbetson Street, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, The Mid-American Review, The Hudson Review, The Worcester Review, and the Valparaiso Poetry Review; featured on Verse Daily and WBUR’s Cognoscenti; and in the anthologies Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust and Burning Bright: Passager Celebrates 21 Years.

Wendy Drexler will be reading with Susan Donnelly on Thursday, September 28, 2017, at the Cervena Barva Press Studio at The Arts for the Armory, Basement, Room B8, 191 Highland Avenue, Somerville, 7:30 p.m. For more information about readings and for poetry posts see Wendy’s website: