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Published: Sat Oct 15 2005
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
April, Peepers, Flaubert, and Springsteen

Now that the sun’s hanging around longer,
These first warm evenings bring
The peepers up out of the muck, aroused
By temperatures and a ferocious desire
To peep and trill a hundred times a minute,
Nearly six thousand times a night,
Each wet, shining body a muscle of need
That says faster, louder, faster, louder.

Life, life to have erections, that’s what it’s
All about
—that’s Flaubert ringing
In my old ears, some drained chamber
Of the heart pumping again, interrupting
My bookish evening. I should tie myself
To my chair or stopper my ears. But I’m up
And answering my sirens’ call, overcome
By some need to be outside, to be
Part of this great spring upheaval.

In the dark amid their chorus, I hold
A flashlight on a peeper that pulses
Under its skin, its entire body a trill reaching
Toward a silent female, and now I’m calling
To my wife to come out, to hurry,
And when she finds me, I swear I feel as if
I’m shining like something that has come up
From deep under the earth, and singing

It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.

See what's inside AGNI 62

Robert Cording has published ten collections of poems, most recently In the Unwalled City (Slant Books, 2022), and a volume of essays on poetry and religion, Finding the World’s Fullness (Slant, 2019). His poetry collection, Life-list, won the 1987 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award. His poems have appeared in The Nation, Poetry, The Paris Review, AGNIThe New Yorker, and elsewhere. He has received grants in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission of the Arts. For thirty-eight years he taught English and creative writing at College of the Holy Cross and worked as a poetry mentor in the Seattle Pacific University MFA program. (updated 10/2022)

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