I feel my mouth go dry in terror whenever I hear a cricket. (Denise Duhamel)
I have lived in the front yard all my life.
Like Lot’s wife, I cannot peek at the back,
rough and untended,
where the hungry weed grows;
my mouth goes dry, my stomach turns, a girl gets sick –
the sound a cricket makes tells me of the death of summer now.
But somewhere down the alley,
the charity children play,
for they do not fear the fortunes of today.
The Bible says the world is full of wonderful things,
yet when I try to fly from my cloistered cage, my mother sneers,
says I will grow up to be a bad woman.
Someday, I plan to slip out the back gate,
honest, I do,
and wear the brave stockings
of night-black lace
and strut down the streets with paint on my face.
*In honor of the centenary of her birth, a new poetic form was devised, the Golden Shovel, wherein the last words in each line are from a Gwendolyn Brooks poem; in this case, “a song in the front yard”.