by Carol V. Davis
What is the dream life of a cicada?
Imagine burrowing underground for 17 years,
such sulky juveniles, then within hours
merging with millions, the males boisterous,
females silent, clumsy fliers, colliding mid-air.
What is it like to miss the end of a war?
Though the iconic kiss in Times Square was staged,
Japanese soldiers really hid on a remote Philippine island
for decades, once stealing a villager’s cow,
fighting skirmishes, sometimes fatal.
Pamphlets dropped by the U.S. Navy did nothing
to persuade these straggling soldiers it was over.
Does all that noise scare off predators?
This year with masses of cicadas, scientists
observed that the birds’ bellies are no fuller.
Can hunger alone fuel the hunt?
To this day, a woman is advised not to show
too much plumage and to wait for the man to call.
Light begins to retreat on the prairie.
The noise level increases into a storm of cicadas.
Carol V. Davis is the author of Because I Cannot Leave This Body (Truman State Univ. Press, 2017), Between Storms (TSUP, 2012) and won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg. Twice a Fulbright scholar in Russia, she teaches at Santa Monica College and Antioch University, Los Angeles. She is poetry editor of the Los Angeles newspaper the Jewish Journal.