Les Cigales (The Cicadas)
"Les cigales, les cigalons, chantent mieux que les violons".
Les Cigales – Gerard, French Art song
After sixteen years underground the bugs
emerge, their butter brown wings sticky,
climb the nearest tree to dry and harden.
They lay their eggs in wet green oak leaves,
then sing for days and days until the singing
lifts them up to swarm and die, crashing
blindly into fences, trees and homes,
before their larvae creep down trunks of trees
to find a place below the ground,
and wait another sixteen years.
At sixteen a girl is emerging
from years beneath her mother's skirts.
Her butter brown eyes dewy, her gaze
not yet hardened. She lies down
beneath the oak, weeps and weeps until
the rain begins to fall, then runs inside
the house, her room door crashing shut.
She crawls beneath the bed, a place
to wait until a first lost love disperses
among the evening song of the cicadas.