Soon, after seventeen years underground, cicadas
will tunnel themselves up into air and light. Imagine:
thousands of days chewing on the roots of old trees.
Then, as dictated by an ancient calendar, they
crawl out and stay on earth just long enough
to molt, to lure a mate with song, to deposit eggs
in the grooves of trees, then die. Above ground, I
collect old fears and new regrets as I search
for four leaf clovers in patches of spring grass.
For one second I believe a handful of weeds
will bring good luck, a long and healthy life,
but luck seldom arrives in a handful of clover.
I’m thinking about that boy, not yet seventeen,
shot dead last night in Chicago. He will never
grow taller or become a man. Soon below ground,
his name will be added to the long list of names,
this ritual on the calendar, as if it’s a phenomenon
of nature when a young, black child dies like that.
Laura Tate wrote her first poem at the age of nine. Since then, she has written many more poems, and hopes to publish a chapbook in the not too distant future. She is a retired elementary school teacher and lives in central New York with her husband, who is also a writer, and three cats. She has three grown children. Her first grandchild is due in September.
© 2021, Laura Tate