Journal of Writing & Environment

Magicicadas shake their tymbals

in the chorus trees; gnats

hover over a glass of shiraz;

and through the beetle-shell


phone my sister says: I knew

the doctor would call during the concert,

but strings go first so there’s time.

Aggressive steps, or make Dad


comfortable? What would he want?

From the edge of the deck, toes

thrust into weeds, a reply

on the downbeat: Option B.


What he wants is not sane.

Later she says: I didn’t know what

to do until I heard your voice.

You sounded so sure.


Hope is the thing with veiny

wings and crimson eyes that asks

and asks. Hope has a calling song

and a congregating song. Both


mock the audience.

Far from this infestation,

my nephew’s drum ticks like a good

heart. It says a sick and damaged


body doesn’t want more scalpels.

There will be no repentance or

reconciliation. Just rage

at women who won’t take him in.


Frantic old molters and brooders

wound the most vulnerable plants.

The cell in my hand sleeps for a season

but when it wakes, I’ll sing and sing

until nobody feels anything.