This piece is my entry for the Soaring Twenties Social Club Symposium.
The theme for this issue is “Death”.
Does the cicada say of us
they live a thousand lives before they pass away
their song unfolds through an entire day
their melody is endless
they carry their shells
they raise their young
prisons of skin emerge from skin
bound to the earth
feet sink into stone
they depart reluctantly
What do they make of our sirens, our playgrounds, our barking dogs?
Our drums, our flutes, our cries?
Do they think us unnatural? Do we sound out of tune?
Do they wail alongside us? Do they copy our songs?
Do the cicadas wonder
what do our songs sound like to them?
a scratch, a cloud, a hum?
grass on grass, a tap, a quiver?
do we keep them awake with our din?
Do they ask
what will they say about us once we’ve gone?
will they yearn to hear us once more?
how long do they sleep before they return?
will they listen to our children’s song?
Bashō has left the building
But the temple bell still rings
And the cicadas cry—
A sign that they will die.