The Cicada

Anna Laura Reeve

                   The dog-day cicada’s screech pierces  noon air
Trees  are ringing with them, then silent

                                                              Now  rhythmic cicadas
   upend chattering rainsticks          slowing    to lazily-brushed 

                                        If, one day
      the monarch  runs  aground           leaving its  podium 
     in the American conscience    to the cicada
                                                               whose  heavy brush
will sweep the sweatslick hair of Tennessee Augusts      back 
                  behind      her sleeping   ears

Last year, it was all  population decline and  habitat loss 
by way of paved  megamart lots

    Pricking    the surface tension  of my mind                pale 
   hook-clawed   larvae          scraping feebly beneath asphalt

                       There is always a time 
     when the animal is too  numerous          to be perceived

                  Small  black shape   flying—          hummingbird?
                        Or the elegant              tarantula hawk?       No, 
                                                                       none  of  these

Anna Laura Reeve

Anna Laura Reeve is a poet living and gardening near the Tennessee Overhill region, traditional land of the Eastern Cherokee. Previous work of hers has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, ROOM Magazine,, and others. She is the winner of the 2022 Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry, a finalist for the 2022 Ron Rash Award and the 2022 Heartwood Poetry Prize, and a two-time Pushcart nominee. Her debut poetry collection, Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility (Belle Point Press), is available now.

Art: “The Mallows” by Nataliia Burmaka, Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

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