In the lead-up to our 50th Anniversary next year, Cream City Review is revisiting work in our Archives. Below is one from Ted Kooser, Pulitizer Prize winner, former U.S. Poet Laureate, and one of the great living writers of contemporary poetry. This poem would go on to appear in his excellent collection Weather Central (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994). Ted’s website can be found here.




The cricket’s pocket knife is bent
from prying up the lid of a can
of new moons. It skips on the grindstone,
chattering, showering sparks
that float away over the darkened yard.

This is the Fourth of July
for the weary ants, who have no union,
who come home black with coal dust.
Deep in the grass you can hear them
unfolding their canvas chairs.

There is a pier that arches out
into the evening, its pilings of shadow,
its planking of breeze, and on it
a woman stands snapping the shade
of a lantern, signaling someone.


– from Cream City Review 16.1 (Spring 1992).