Litkicks Message Board Archive

The Accent of Cicadas [pc]

Posted to Poetry

Cicadas whir in the trees,
periodical brood,
emerging at intervals.

Katie was born in the South,
a pronounced southern accent
not from Florida’s swampy heat
but from Virginia’s genteel breezes.

I’m off to study in Baltimore,
only 90% humidity. Good
for the mosquitoes.
Stopping by to see my family,
estranged for years,
after I fled for the West Coast
and lost all but a hint of my birthplace.

Cicadas leave shell casings
when they burst out
after seventeen years
underground in the old
black soils of the South.

My mind is on books of poetry
and criticism: author and title,
footnotes and endnotes.

Katie’s a full-grown teenager
now though she’s always
the baby I helped diaper.
The veins in her neck stuck
out when she cried.

Cicadas have big eyes when
they come out from the nymphs
they were and begin to drone.
They will die soon.

I only wear black now.
Poetry no longer makes me
cry. My memory cluttered
with notes still
hears the accents.