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.




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