0

excess

tuesday morning. the sun is bright but the sky is dark, like it’s protesting. crows caw in the eucalyptus trees. the parrots are away.

a toddler, crying, stops when it sees us. but we are on a walk and so we walk. we turn the corner and the crying continues.

ten red leaves left on the baby tree, all red. the fallen have been neatly cleared away.

there is my twig, lodged in the dirt at the base of a skeletal jacaranda. it feels like years since I last saw it bloom.

they poured concrete down the street yesterday. the driveway looks spotless but the grass is a mess. tree roots like whales attempt to breach the sea of gray, drowning in our excess.

1

irena

this morning is unfamiliar. birds are in the trees singing songs I’ve never heard. the trees are the same, I know them, but are they taller today, farther away? am I smaller? which one of us has changed?

my eyes itch, something in the air. I try not to rub them.

yesterday the waves were gigantic. I met my dad and we walked a mile together on the beach. there were people in the water, tiny, inconsequential. they wore wet skin and floated on wood and foam and resin. they crashed, over and over.

I won’t go to the sea today. I don’t think it would recognize me.

I cross the street and peel off a glove to press my palm against a tree trunk. a squirrel watches me from above, frozen, staring at me like I’m unwelcome. I pull away, keep walking. I put the glove in my pocket.

the cloud cover is thick, and the air is, too. it feels like they’re waiting for something.

light rain, forecast in 31 minutes. it doesn’t come.

2

cricket

there’s a cricket living under the fridge
it’s been chirping all night long
it won’t stop, not when I stomp or slam
or jump up and down or shut drawers with vigor
or march in and out and then back in again
you know, in the wild, in sidewalk cracks
they feel you approach and they stop
but not here, no, not under a fridge
not ever, not for a moment, a breath
it’s quite loud, this cricket
in a small tiled room
sound bouncing off cupboards and counters and walls and
what’s that you say?
I can hardly hear you
a ringing in the ears? no, a chirping, that’s right
a small leggy being lodged inside my brain
it’s louder than earplugs
louder than thoughts
louder than typing, and I’m not holding back
how’d you get in, anyway? did you hop through the house?
did you plan this?
are you happy? well, are you?
and how will you leave? no, you won’t ever, will you?
do you know that? is that why you’re so loud?
you’re louder than my neighbors, even when they sneeze
louder than my hopes and dreams
my bank account
my sanity
you’ll live for ninety days, google tells me
isn’t that wonderful?