“It’s a Sexual Song, Isn’t It, That Crickets Sing?” – by Ace Boggess

—Stephen Dunn, “A Petty Thing”


You know the tune of the moon band,
harmonies meant for kazoo & tambourine.
Sounds like a jet-engine clock.
Its alarm strikes midnight first,
then noon. It says, I want you, baby.
Want me, too? I’d squawk more
if you let me, but you’ve closed the curtain,
stretched a towel at the base of the door.
I’m too old to keep a whistle like that
in my pocket, thrust with my little guitar.
Doesn’t this rhythm arouse your interest?
Knowing soon we might be snatched
by long tongue or bent, calloused talon?
It’s a song of endings: dirge. Come,
play it with me as the last leaf falls &
quietly, quietly mourns the loving ground.

Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018) and Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Art: Dancing in the Dark, acrylic paint on 20×16 inch canvas
Artist Statement: I imagine the strange form in the painting dancing along in search of something just out of reach, as the Springsteen title alludes to, and it seemed to match the movement and answer the call of Boggess’ poem. “Doesn’t this rhythm arouse your interest?”