Does the cicada say

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.