Robert Cording

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.

Robert Cording
“April Peepers, Flaubert, and Springsteen” first appeared in AGNI 62.