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April, Peepers, Flaubert, and Springsteen

by Robert Cording

Now that the sun’s hanging around longer,
These first warm evenings bring
The peepers up out of the muck, aroused
By temperatures and a ferocious desire
To peep and trill a hundred times a minute,
Nearly six thousand times a night,
Each wet, shining body a muscle of need
That says faster, louder, faster, louder.

Life, life to have erections, that’s what it’s
All about
—that’s Flaubert ringing
In my old ears, some drained chamber
Of the heart pumping again, interrupting
My bookish evening. I should tie myself
To my chair or stopper my ears. But I’m up
And answering my sirens’ call, overcome
By some need to be outside, to be
Part of this great spring upheaval.

In the dark amid their chorus, I hold
A flashlight on a peeper that pulses
Under its skin, its entire body a trill reaching
Toward a silent female, and now I’m calling
To my wife to come out, to hurry,
And when she finds me, I swear I feel as if
I’m shining like something that has come up
From deep under the earth, and singing

It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.


Robert Cording teaches English and creative writing at College of the Holy Cross. He has published four collections of poems: Life-list, which won the Ohio State University Press/Journal Award in l987; What Binds Us To This World (Copper Beech Press, l991); Heavy Grace (Alice James Books, l996); and Against Consolation (CavanKerry Press, 2002). His new book, Common Life, will be published in 2006 by CavanKerry Press. He has received two grants in poetry from the National Endowment of the Arts and two from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts. His poems have appeared in The Nation, Image, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Poetry, DoubleTake, Orion, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and many other magazines. He lives in Woodstock, Connecticut, with his wife and three children. (10/2005)

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