Dont sleep, he sings, dont spider baby.
He pokes the mama and she walks slowly,
carefully, up the wall,
leaving her child behind,
her back crawling with dozens of other black
spider babies. The boy
puffs his cheeks and blows,
mama unconcerned as more children
Fall down spider baby, whispers the boy,
he kneels to peer at them.
They walk slow and uncertain, in circles on the floor,
tiny as dust,
mama gone ticking up the wallpaper.
Where ha ha has mama gone, says the boy.
Who cant ride on mamas back?
It is a serious question, and the spider babies stop, pondering,
the boy crawls with them in their circles,
sighs the answer, Gone, Gone, Gone,
and licks them off the floor with each Gone.
I drove her all the way from Nacogdoches
To Nashville, and she made me stay
Awake. I knew it, knew as soon as I
Saw her eating a dusty hard-boiled egg by the
Side of the road, that there would never be any stopping me
Now. If Texas could give me again the whole brown length of her
Body like it did then, I could come back from the dead
Box canyon where my heart lives now
And all day long drink unsweetened tea, and all day long eat
Eggs. But Texas canít give back what Tennessee took away
From me, taking herself from myself, my unsweetened
Cicada singer. She liked my songs but liked best
Merle Haggard, and so we didnít even go to
Graceland, which was the whole brown length of
My love. She wore a hat indoors, a ratty
Panama from Vicksburg, she didnít even take it off
In our motel room. My God, if I saw a Panama hat now
It would kill me for sure, or a whiskey soda, which she always
Drank with dinner. Someone like her should not just
Happen upon you, because the taste of her sweat and
Hair is enough to make memory a hot and
Drowning place. Someone like her should have a real
Purpose in you, a long mapped highway
Marked in red, wandering and curvy, but with some circled
City at the end. Iím leaving, driving to Kentucky for no good
Reason, but I know if I could hold you once more,
My cicada song, I would be everything in the world that is