2 Poems (Elliott Vanskike)

Camel Crickets

Water-seeking, they have come to the basement tub
And now hunker there, facing different directions
Like a boy band posing for an album cover.
O, Rhaphidophoridae ceuthophilus,
I have tried but I cannot pronounce your name.
So,“motherfucking piece of shit” is how I greet you.
Every last one of you will be drowned or smashed,
Your bodies shoe-crushed and scooped up with tissue
Or shower-deluged until draped, sodden, on the tub bottom.
In Collodi’s original Italian version of Pinocchio,
The nameless cricket gives the puppet-boy wise counsel,
Which always goes unheeded and eventually is punished.
The oracular cricket in a children’s story gets hammer-murdered.
You never even give advice, so why should you fare better?

A Little Song of the Safeway Cricket

there has to be a
better way to find a mate
than chirping your heart
out in the garish
light of the frozen food aisle
hoping against hope
maybe a female
cricket also found her way
across the threshold
hopping and crawling
past the automatic doors
onto the cold floor
to join you where you’ve secreted yourself
drawn by your foolishness toward the fish sticks


Elliott Vanskike is a writer and editor living in Takoma Park, MD. He has published poems in Electric Literature. You can find him on Twitter (@twonnet) and Instagram (evanskike8), but he really doesn’t know what he’s doing.


image: MM Kaufman