Cicadas sing the clack and click of timbals,
a cacophony for hot summer days
when sticky sweat runs down slippery backs.
Their timbals buckle out and bend back in,
disperse a shaking sound as of rattles
rising and falling like deep and repeated knife stabs,
unending even deep past dim light into the night
descending out from trees
off into humid and misty airs over fields
of sword grass grown fat off flood plain waters.
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 carcasses remain an ironic but muted reminder of the cycle of life.