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.