by Emily Hockaday

The night is loud in the park. I sit
on the fallen pine trunk, and if I listen
long enough, the katydids
start saying my name. This year
I saw two cicada shells with the neat clean split
right up the back. Metamorphosis was promised
to me very young: a laurel tree, a crown
of snakes, the protection that pain brings.

Instead my body changed within,
bringing a new life all its own. My body split,
but it wasn’t me who emerged,
bloody and glistening. She sits beside me,
wriggling with impatience. She names the night
music: cricket, katydid, cicada. She hears my voice,
too, from the past. Girlish and hopeful.


Image by Petr Ganaj via Pexels