thrum and wheeze
from the mulberry trees,
a row of knotted trunks hugging the fence
between pole beans and dandelion lawn,
the highest, greenest leaves dusty from weeks
of our passing back and forth on the gravel drive.
I stand on our unpainted, sagging porch,
holding the baby's cup and her dress,
clean and crisp as Chinese poppies
flaming in a summer portrait.
Cicadas begin their song again
as if they had stopped
when the screen door slammed,
stopped and breathed in,
their eyes like orange beads
and their wings like chaff.
They sing even within the walls
of my human chest, they sing
in the rooms of my eyes and lungs,
in the struggling chambers of my heart,
and the trembling of the blood in my wrists.
When I stand in the sweet humid air
holding a cup of water and a red dress,
I foresee their bodies’ husks
emptied, clinging to the trees,
shells of lace,
I wonder what it will be
for my fragile daughter and me
to shrug our dresses, our skin,
like linen from our shoulders,
confused or blessed by music of our own.