Cicadas
Their sound is metallic,
as you say: a hum
nearly industrial, 
since every noise in nature
is also necessarily
historical;

and here in Illinois,
where they sing or solder
all the August day,
their notes mark time
in quick or labored
crescendos. 

Alone on the prairie, 
I’m depending 
on the telephone
for words.  
And when you laugh
and describe

cicadas you heard   
thirty years ago 
by the bay, 
I hear them better
than the sound 
that now 

lines my living room
like silver, 
like steel: 
listen.  What else 
do you remember
so sharply?   

And if that caliber
of memory 
is in you, what else
can we ever 
mean by secrets
when we listen

to each other
like girls, for hours?
I want to restore
the particles
that formed us 
before we met:  

sand dune striations, 
or the toll
of grace notes
in church songs—all
the stucco
and the gold.

I know that in the last days,
all I’ll have is memory:
so, yes, I’ll need 
the milkweed, 
the hairstyle, all the wet
eidetic leaves—

to take with me
when I wade 
without you
through summer grass
grown taller
than my sight.  
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