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Under an oak near the high school in June
like pompoms discarded after a game,
a circle of stemmed and rustling clusters—
bouquets of cicada brides whose courtship
made the sky sing so in May.
The wedding music stopped, these are left,
to be caught by maidens in seventeen years.
Love that waits seventeen years,
buried love that sounds in our ears
as present as silence, hopeful love,
that scatters its sons and daughters
on the charity of the world–how can we not
side with it, shelter it, or stand aside
as it casts into the future
as if there were peace in nature.
Author’s note: This is a poem I started about seventeen years ago. I was living in Princeton and the cicadas emerged, a phenomenon. I often say that if fireflies and squirrels weren’t common, we’d travel a long way to see them. Same with cicadas. The same brood is about to emerge again.
Copyright 2021 Arlene Weiner
Arlene Weiner’s books include City Bird (Ragged Sky, 2018). She currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Periodical cicada (photo: Chicago Sun-Times)