On Men and Pests

I can’t stop thinking about how I killed the crickets

Amanda Oliver
4 min readNov 7, 2018

This piece was was originally written and read for an event hosted by Zan and Andy Romanoff in Los Angeles. The themes of the evening were daughterhood, fatherhood, and the patriarchy.

The day Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court I left my apartment and there were two dead crickets on my doorstep. My mother says a cricket in the house is good luck, but what do two dead crickets on a doorstep mean?

I created this, of course, with the poison and the one-gallon sprayer I bought from Amazon. Because a cricket in the house had kept me awake for two weeks.

When I was little, my father cleaned a church and dug the holes for bodies in its cemetery. He put those bodies in those holes and came home after midnight most nights. The cleaning and the body burying were enough to keep a roof over our heads. Me, my two older brothers, my father, and my mother.

A house came with the church sexton’s position. It was white stone with black shutters and a red door. It was three floors and costly to heat, but the church paid for all that.

The minister’s house was behind ours and he set up a line of string across the yard we shared — him, childless, and us desperate for green space to run around in. We were…



Amanda Oliver

Author of OVERDUE: Reckoning with the Public Library • writer, editor, teacher • amandaoliver.com