The Night Visitor

- With warm regards for Dr Seuss

It’s very warm,
It’s very quiet,
It's a very warm and quiet night.
The kids are upstairs in their beds.
Happy dreams playing in their heads.
I hear the TV,
I hear a laugh,
My neighbours watching TV laugh.
Outside I hear a stray dog bark.
A stray dog barks out at the dark.
A cricket chirps,
A high crick-crick,
A high cricket chirps,”Crick crick crick.”
“Crick crick crick,” and “Crick crick crick.”
It cuts through the quiet, “Crick crick crick.”

I’m reading a book.
It’s murder mystery.
It’s very warm and I am thirsty.
I need some water, is what I think,
Some ice cold water is good to drink.
I go into the kitchen,
I put on the light.
The stove is shiny, the counter’s bright,
The morning’s tea things are all set,
How terribly organised I can get.
I take a glass,
In it I fill,
Cold water which I also spill.
I reach for a towel the mess to mop,
Then I see something that makes me stop.
I reach for a roll of newspaper instead,
That I keep handy to take care,
Of creepy things like these that dare,
Enter the pristine sterility
Of my domain, my territory.
I see it there -
Under my stove.
Brown antennae waving,
A delicate pair,
Sensing the air,
It boldly advances antennae waving.
I get ready to swing my weapon and fight.
Before it can take off in flight,
And land on me.
And so I also get ready to flee.
And as I watch, tense and nervous,
The shiny flat brown body reaches a water drop.
And as I watch, the drop begins to shrink,
And then my brain begins to think,
The poor thing also needs to drink.
And in that warm and quiet night,
Revulsion turns to wonderment.
It feels thirst just like me and you.
It is a living creature too!

            - Radha Lakshminarayan, Hyderabad