Five male crickets
sing and fight.
The loudest wins,
the softest dies,
the neither-nors
fill the air
with mediocre fluff.

The champion thug’s
shell’s so hard,
his chirp, his sword,
his perfect yell.

The loser rots,
the sweet black gore
of cricket joy
expressed to death
in one dumb glop.

But what if not?
What if “loser”
sent a message out
to the female cricket
beds—that sounder
eggs are made of
sounds that no one
sane can guess,

and now the meadow’s
pregnant with the contents
of his head—the treacle
of his refusal
to be anybody else,

which manifests in darkness
as a silence that is tense,
so when they’re born,
they scream like snow
that falls against itself.