The cricket on my pale belly
                                           rubs its legs together
while drops of water around my nipple slowly dry.
Lick it up, Sun. I’m not going anywhere;
I’m with colleen.

Yesterday we found a headstone
with nothing but the name Sucky James and Died.
I wanted to tell her about my grandfather,
little and ugly in his open casket—
the first body I had ever seen dead,
face caked-up in whites and reds like a clown.
I don’t care how that sounds. They put him in a too-big suit.
He looked like a kid who died playing dress-up.

This was in the late morning, Sun.
You threw down the heat there too.
We took the cloud of blackbirds as a sign and got moving,
but Colleen didn’t like the quiet.
She filled the air with all the names she knew,
the names of the trees in the distance,
the names of the cows in the field,
the colors of the shacks and everything else she could see,
before telling me she was twenty
when she started calling everything by its name.

The cricket has started to chirp,
and for no reason I name it Bocelli.
How long have I been carrying that soft, little name?

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Samuel Rucks

Samuel Rucks is an American poet from the Southwest. You can find his work in Frontier Mosaic, where the expansive landscapes of Oklahoma and Arizona cast a wide net, capturing and giving shape to the isolation and history one confronts when between great distances.