Diana: The Dark Voice of Crickets
I can see the whole dusty street from my seat in front of the Syracuse hotel. The young men walk by still blackened by oil and dust. I can’t imagine what it’s like to sleep in the eaves of the Derricks. Over the constant rhythms of oils’ give and take. Bet they dream of lobster and champagne, velvet curtains and hard wood floors. After they pass me, they line up for a good meal over at Wiggins Restaurant. I feel real lucky for the straw bed I’ve got in this joint. Not to mention the solid walls (though there are some big gaps between the boards). I’ve seen eyes starting through those cracks on many of night when I’ve laid down with a customer. And it would have embarrassed me months ago. Now, when I’m with a John the world goes cold and slack as a winter sky. He don’t look me in the eye. I’m nothing to him and I know it. Why open up my mind? Them is my constellations. A few more weeks of this and maybe I’ll have saved enough to get out. At night, when I’m finally alone on my straw bed, I close my eyes and listen to the crickets. Pretend their dark voices are weaving my song of escape. If I could just catch a ride back down the hill to Oil City, I could catch a train back home. Don’t know if I could ever go home though. What would I say? Who would believe me? And then there’s the problem that I keep missing my time. I know how some of the girls have taken care of it. Widow Ricketts got some strong herbs she’ll give you so as to keep you from keeping your baby. I’ve seen girls, pale as sheets, heading down to Pithole Creek to dispose of what they lost. It ain’t right. I know it. But, can you blame them? Who could raise a child in this muddy mess. And where would you keep your child while you work? I’m so torn, I try to just not think about what’s growing inside of me.