A solitary cricket makes the sound
of an old man sucking meat scraps between his teeth.
He speculates; he doesn't try too hard.
Where in this room is he concealed?
In bed I listen through the dark.
He's old to keep such teeth. Sinews
creak in his green transparent arms;
I hear his slippered feet.
I lie in musk my lover left
on damp sheets. This senior
has watched it all,
gnawing down a scrap of beef.
Patiently he sits and sucks his teeth;
he doesn't try to tell me anything.
I know he waits and thinks.
Five thousand years drift on;
he crouches to the ground,
working scraps, and patiently shifts
his narrow slippered feet.
Nightly lovers waste their seed
while he watches, half asleep;
alone at dawn besieged by dreams
I hear him clean his teeth again
in the same noncommittal key.