Cicadas will burrow up from their seventeen-year
cycle beneath the earth where they sipped Xylem
from roots like babes suckling teats.

Come May, cicadas will emerge in broods,
a protection against prey.
Maybe we should all have just one birthday.

Slowly, the cicadas, symbols of death and rebirth,
will molt their dried, armadillo-like exoskeletons
that crackle underfoot, reminding

us of the childhood chant—
Step on the crack, break your mother’s back
and how you held your breath

as you made your way
in your Mary Janes
over the cracked sidewalk.

Maybe your mother grew wings that lifted
her from the confinement
of her pine coffin. Maybe

she will hear the cicadas’ droning buzz
as music that inspires her
to break into her throaty warble

of Edith Piaf’s
La Vie en Rose.
I long to hear her.