crickets and gulls

seagull soaring

by Brook Andreoli


the gulls came.


and in the moment i let down my flailing arms

they shook.


from beating back the crickets

guarding wheat stalks,

watching the skies with hope and moving my arms with determination.

and instead of feeling the triumph of the miracle

i feel exhausted.

because i can.

i can rest, without beating my arms, and know that the wheat field is safe.

and that i was fierce

even when i was scared.

so scared.

and as i watched the crickets consume the stalks i thought


they would consume me as well.


i am grateful for the gulls.

in their forms of angels

here beside me beating the crickets back

and above me

and around me

whispering of a miracle,

holding my arms when i couldn’t beat longer.

or wiping my tears,

when i didn’t have a hand to spare.


i stayed.

here in the field.

and it made my arms

strong and sunkissed.

and it made my faith firm,

but the faith didn’t come in the moment of the gulls.

it came in snatches

while i was beating back the crickets

and beating back my fears

and clutching on to hope

and throwing back my face to pray

and bending back to work.


the crickets came

and ate

but they did not eat me.


and i’m tired.

and i lay down in the field

next to the prickly stalks

and look up at the sky


the circling of the gulls now passed.


the sky is clear

of crickets

and gulls


and after i rest

i will plant more seeds

and not be afraid

of the crickets

who could eat them.


because my arms are strong

and my god is strong

and the sun is long in the sky

shining over my wheat.


and i rest

my tears watering the ground

thankful for the gulls

who have allowed me

this rest.


and when i close my eyes i still see the swarms

but in time, i know

i will close my eyes and see

clear skies.

Christopher D. Cunningham is the managing editor for Public Square Magazine and contributor to Third Hour. He loves emphatically celebrating the normal healthy development of his sons Albus and Whitman, writing about the Church of Jesus Christ, finding the middle ground on most controversies, and using Western Family generic brand lip balm. Christopher is a proud graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, and a resident of San Antonio, Texas.