The Sound that Will Interrupt

The Sound that Will Interrupt
Paige Huskey

Just outside the
window above my bed
the lonely cricket
takes center stage
playing a sonata.

Other night noises
are second fiddle
to his loud, shrill violin.
I am forced to listen
every night.

My daughter crawls into bed.
Too old, yet I can’t say no.
Will dad ever come home?
I stroke her hair as we fall asleep
to the cricket’s serenade.

I wonder
how long can he sing—
Black pearl in the ocean
of weeds that is my backyard.

Tonight the song is broken,
half-hearted, diminished.
The nights grow longer,
getting colder.
The nights.

I listen.

My feet search for warmth
under the covers,
traversing the cold plains
to find a ridge, a bump, something
to burrow my toes into.

I envision his belts hanging,
forgotten behind closet doors,
waiting for pants to bind,
longing for a waist to hug.

I count the holes only I can see
where pictures once hung.
Each like the memory of a pin prick
which lasts far longer
than the actual wound.

I wait.

The dog’s modest snoring rises
from underneath the bed,
like the intermittent rumblings of
Old Faithful before each eruption,

Then barely audible the gentle plop,
plop of a leaky shower head.
If I try really hard
the jagged buzz of my son’s iPod
as he studies for college classes.

I listen for a beat,
kneading the random sounds
to form a rhythm.
Gradually I discern a bass vibration,
that which can only be felt.

My hand slowly comes to rest
as if I’m pledging my allegiance.
The throbbing of my heart
completes the tempo.
It will have to do.

about the author
I am an assistant professor at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio, where I teach writing and literature and also coordinate for the developmental reading and writing program. I hold a B.A. in literature from the University of Colorado and an M.A. in literature from Wright State University. My essays have been published in The Facts on File Companion to the American Short Story, The Facts on File Companion to the American Novel, and Special Gifts: Women Writers on the Heartache, the Happiness, and the Hope of Raising a Special Needs Child, which was an award-winning finalist of the National Best Book Awards 2007. I also co-wrote a chapter of A Guide to Teaching the Norton Field Guide to Writing.