I was kindly invited to participate in a Cicada Celebration here in Kingston, NY by the venerable Mikhail Horowitz, comic poet extraordinaire. This was my contribution to the evening's festivities:
Red-eyed, you pass the woods near the bridge,
head home to the man you'll probably spend
the rest of your life with.
It took years to come around to this,
years for you to see his voice,
to be silent, let your future's next sound
reach your translucent ears.
Boomerang lovers, cicadas return
from their long dirt nap,
bleary buzz alerting the media
to their impending orgy,
crackling hum like your Long Island
high tension lines, green summer evenings
cruising the Parkways, stalking the
wild wine and cheese.
At seventeen, weekends an eternity,
there was that one you looked for
fifth period A-days, the blonde
with the John Denver glasses
or the red-headed bass player,
sometimes the chorus teacher himself.
You never had a chance. Electric
lattice framed the stars that
rivetted the night in place, and past that--
Cicadas, bumper to bumper on the branches,
don't waste a moment of their brief romantic lives.
They know who knows what seventeen summers
more might bring, what one small slap on
the snooze button could cost, how summer's
lease expires without mercy.