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Cicada by Will Reger

by Jonathon | 9.26.12


Cicada settles on the sidewalk
to wait the final embrace of
opossum’s maw or
the sweet reduction of ants.
The bulging eyes
fold in on themselves,
arthritic death clenches
once nimble wings, and
beetles rush to sip
the cooling ichor of life,
while dragonflies above
dance the wake.
And I walk by and by and by,
still humming the spiraling
summer song,
the siren call,
the joyous scream,
made agony in the short
of time.

Will Reger was born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area. He has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois and currently teaches history at Illinois State University. He lives in Champaign, Illinois, with his wife and two youngest children. He began writing poetry in the 7th grade and never quite stopped. He also plays the Native American Flute. He has recently had poems published in Fire in the Pasture and songs/cycles (and, of course, here on WIZ).

Photo credit: John O’Neill, via Wikimedia Commons.

4 Responses to Cicada by Will Reger

  1. Th.


    Marvelous use of cicadas.

  2. Jonathon

    Cue “The Lion King.” Only without the cheese sauce. I’m a sucker for the gothic, and this has just enough Thomas and just enough Poe in it to charm. Thanks, Will.

  3. JennyW

    Will, I loved this. The rich compression of your language echoes that brevity of life, making it (both poem and life) more valuable still.

  4. Patricia

    Life is brief, but the siren call is catchy.

    Intriguing poem, Will. In the late spring here, I often find myself walking through the pinyon and juniper cicada choir hall, stepping over the translucent brown shells. It affects me through and through.

    Love “sweet reduction of ants”.

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