Poetry

K+B+M 2010

4 October 2016

It was the hottest year on record again. The priest said something about the world ending in flames, mercy, taxes, running from the burning temple. I’m not one for holy experiences, but the cool wine at communion was divine. For the first time I felt the Lord in my blood. You must have felt Him too when you collapsed in the pews. The priest visited in the height of summer, he looked ready to burst. He chalked a talisman above the door: ‘Let Christ bless this house’.

The blessing broke days later.

The cicadas wouldn’t shut up. They thrum in Gregorian tongues for a few days before burying their nymphs. It must be cool underground, it must be a holy place where they can grow easily, sucking juices from wattle and eucalypt roots. After a few years they leave their exoskeletons behind. A pair of ribbed membranes (tymbals, they’re called), line the base of their abdomen. Males congregate and shake their tymbals to attract mates and deter birds. My uncles gathered in the heat of the day, buzzing quietly to ward off their grief. An aunt collapsed, the temperature was too much. Some brought roses. I scattered gumnuts in secret, the kind that only open after fire to take advantage of the nutritious ash. The cicadas wouldn’t shut up. But I am still a nymph and when I emerge from the earth, I’ll leave my bones behind to pry you from His greedy hands and greet you again, with greedy hands of my own.

 


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