Published on Academy of American Poets (

Stridulation Sonnet

Tiger beetles, crickets, velvet ants, all
know the useful friction of part on part,
how rub of wing to leg, plectrum to file,
marks territories, summons mates. How

a lip rasped over finely tined ridges can
play sweet as a needle on vinyl. But
sometimes a lone body is insufficient.
So the sapsucker drums chimney flashing

for our amped-up morning reveille. Or,
later, home again, the wind’s papery
come hither through the locust leaves. The roof
arcing its tin back to meet the rain.

The bed’s soft creak as I roll to my side.
What sounds will your body make against mine?


Copyright © 2015 by Jessica Jacobs. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 8, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote this poem during a summer visit to Asheville, North Carolina, where there was a tremendous thunderstorm nearly every night, followed by a chorus of crickets. From my wife Nickole Brown, a poet somewhat obsessed with insects, I learned these chirps signal either a warning from one male to another, an intended seduction, or a triumphant mating. So what could be more sensual and sonnet-worthy than that—a night holed up beneath a tin roof, listening first to the sky open up, then a thousand small creatures crying out for each other?”
Jessica Jacobs


Jessica Jacobs

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press, 2015).

Date Published: 2015-07-08

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