Cicadas sing the clack and click of timbals,
a cacophony for hot summer days
when sticky sweat runs down slippery backs.
timbals buckle out bend back in,
dispersing a shaking sound as of rattles
the noise rising and falling like
deep and repeated knife stabs,
unending even deep past dim light into night
descending out from trees off into humid and misty airs over fields
of sword grass grown fat off flood plain waters.
And thus the male hearkens to its mate,
and screaming at me through ossicle and cochlea
he becomes proof positive:
time plays out moment by moment,
burdens are rewards all their own,
and the cicada's empty rust-colored shells shed
symbolic carcass an ironic but muted reminder of the cycle of life.