This is Not a Symbolic Poem About Cicadas

WBPC Winner - Pushcart Nominee

A twice poet laureate proclaims that cicada
is a word that writers should never use,
the mere sight of it bringing him up short,
causing him to classify it as cliché—trite
symbol of memory, transformation, rebirth.

But just this afternoon, when I stepped outside,
I, too, was brought up short by cicadas, clicking,
reverberating from their masculine membranes
on their ribbed abs and obliques. These dog-day
choir members, chanting congregational songs,

synchronize their voices, as they bask in glow
of late summer sunshine, send out courting
calls. Just like in a rock band, the drummer
with his wicked sticks always gets the girl,
so these guys resonate their hollow tymbal,

sometimes as much as four hundred eighty
times a second, and girl bugs perched on limbs
of willows and redbuds, play hard to get, feign
disinterest, as they sip sap with straw-like mouths,
waiting patiently, after seventeen years, for Mr. Right.

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About the Author

Linda Neal Reising is a native of Oklahoma and citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Her books include: Re-Writing Family History (Finishing Line), The Keeping (Finishing Line), Stone Roses (Kelsay Books), and VIVIA-The Legend of Vivia Thomas: A Novelette in Poems (Kelsay Books). Forthcoming are Perpetual Astonishment (Beyond Words) and Cigar Box of Loss: Stories from Route 66 (Belle Point).