Maggie Shearon


It’s like this: have you ever lived in the city and then you take a trip to the country and you say ah listen to the country? How nice and quiet here we can really hear ourselves think. So relaxing so delightful we have needed this for a long time. But then about midnight you are going fucking nuts with the quiet of no sound, or nuts within the quiet of one isolated sound. The sound of one cricket, just one black cricket chirping  underneath your window still.

He’s chirping and he just won’t shut up and you miss the sirens. You miss the light you miss the hiss of city curling up around you whispering good night.

Inside the city you are a night light illuminating your particulars. But oh no the country so dark you can count the stars each one demanding a full counting. Count each one and feel small under the dome of isolated light. Caught off guard and feeling in between something. In between the earth and sky with no city there to make it right.

No city to create an incandescent blanket to cradle you in a quasi darkness that you can mistake for night.

The city makes no demands for you to say oh look here is Orion’s belt, here are the seven sisters here is my private wishing star. Old stars delivering their left-over used-up light.

In the country with the weeds and flowers you can be afraid of the dark but in the city under this irradiant sky you can know where you stand, say in Fairmount Park or on the Boulevard, better out on the stoop on Franklin Avenue, listening to the dark volume of a city night. You are just one star there then underneath an arranged landscape of violet blue. Safer that way there.

But visit the country and you will understand. After awhile you want to kill the cricket. You want to kill the cricket and hear the sirens that announce a cricket-sized emergency. You want the brightness of the investigation. You need the reflection on the yellow tape to tell you that you are safe not in the country but in the world where yellow means emergency not gardening.
And the cricket chirps on and you can’t see your hand in front of your face and you wonder just for a moment what you still look like. You bring your fingers to your own face and then feel them pull away. You think oh I have never been in this much dark before. Never.

And you think to get up and turn on the light but you can’t see the outline of your legs in the twisted cotton wrappings of the country in late summer and without sight you cannot feel that muscle or that conduit to cortex that says move your legs, swing them out of the bed and let them inch like two blind men until they reach the floor. Let those feet scuttle like crabs along the carpet and let those arms extended reach out to touch the switch or find some black shadow against shadow that lurches toward light.

In the country your body in its new blind world lays still hearing the blast of a cricket, listening to your breathe in and out and in and out and you wait out the dark, plot your cricket murders and wonder if your heart is about to stop with the slow surrender of a wound down clock. And then that's it.