Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What the Cicada Showed Me

Because there was nowhere else to go,
I ran down the back staircase
after the rains came and went
and left nothing clean.

Outside there was a dead cicada,
its legs curled in like it was doing yoga,
the Child’s Pose,
its big segmented eyes
but no longer watching a million versions
of my movement.

I watched it in its stillness
the way you watch a painting
not the way you watch the television

And its leg twitched slightly,
flexed and relaxed and flexed again
and I thought, my god,
it’s still alive and with a stick flipped it over.

I thought maybe it was just stuck
like a turtle, unable to turn on those wide wings.
I thought I could save it, still
the way I couldn’t save myself.

But then tons of small ants
crawled out, little red things
so tiny they needed a million to be seen
the way a mob works,
and then the cicada stopped twitching.

Then I knew the truth: There are things,
eating us from the inside out,
licking us clean till there is only a shell
and then after a hard wind
not even that.

I want to not be afraid.
I want to go back to the earth