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”.


Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

Alison Jennings

Alison Jennings is a Seattle-based poet who taught in public schools before returning to her first love, poetry. She has had a mini-chapbook of 10 poems and over 85 other poems published internationally in numerous journals, including Burningword, Cathexis Northwest Press, Meat for Tea, Mslexia, Poetic Sun, Red Door, Sonic Boom, and The Raw Art Review. She has also won 3rd Place/Honorable Mention or been a semi-finalist in several contests. Please visit her website at https://sites.google.com/view/airandfirepoet/home.