Up Comes the Cicada

Another one before I get down to actual work I have to do this afternoon. This is for the NaPoWriMo prompt of using a list of words, Wordle-style, for a poem… I ended up using miraculous, gutter, salt, curl, ego, elusive, twice, and ghost in mine which is, for some reason, about cicadas. (I’m looking forward to their arrival, unlike just about everyone else I know.) I don’t always follow the NaPo prompts themselves, but regardless, they have some pretty great daily links for poetry sites around the Web that you ought to check out. I recommend it!

Up Comes the Cicada

Right out of the ground: dirt boils,
trees flow. You can’t help but respect
sleeper agents waiting seventeen years,
patient, webbed with their own growth,
until who-knows-what moment.
It must be clicked into place by that sun
each cicada only knows twice
(first as the salt-crystal egg, then as
one wriggling thumb to crawl the gutter),
triggered like a curl of watchwork gears
grinds their teeth. This day and age,
how can anything be so elusive?
You thump barefoot through the weeds,
all id and ego and here i am, naught else
but yourself. To go unknown under that
could be the last miraculous thing.
And the second-to-last is exposure
for the sake of just one green moment
quick with music, bodies slipped
off bodies, battered together until
particles of young cicada fill the V’s
whittled into a twig. To bloom and fall,
to rise and rejoice, and between to sleep
seventeen years: who won’t say
there is still such a thing as a secret?
Not to mention kept by nymphs who sing
like a million match-heads striking:
like how ash crumbles after the burn,
and wet fire itself must be rubbed close
to keep in your memory, down drop
the cicadas, up go the ghosts.

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One thought on “Up Comes the Cicada

  1. Nature holds the key in her memory. Cicadas are a miracle, and your thoughtful words cause me to wonder if we, as a species, will be able to count even as high as 17 again, so bent are we at self-destruction.

    Thank you for carving into the softest wood these words. As the cicada descends (arises) and goes with the wind, so the tides will wash the wood clean, until the next time… Beautiful. Amy

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