The Beguiled


First, it is late summer, and the ground is everywhere
Cracked and dry under the yellow grass and yellow Sun
I put my cigarette butts in the bigger cracks.
They disappear from view.
My wife will never know I am smoking.

The shells of the cicadas cling to the smallest of trees
And the largest – just anywhere.
The actual cicadas are up high, raucous and pleading for sex.

Do you know how a Cicada Killer can approach
The prey, static and loud on a branch?

They slow their wings and duck their heads down.
They become almost cicada-like – crawling slowly on a thin branch
The instant before they paralyze the placid victim.

She said it was over,
She said she had not slept with him
She didn’t say “yet”.
She had come from the bedroom wearing almost nothing
She just threw some stuff on when I came in the door
I didn’t get any further than the living room.

Her head was lowered, her breathing slowed
There was fear, and it was important not to alarm me.

Paralyzed, I can only move in small increments
The cracks are always there, I can’t reach them all
I am a poor gardener; I have no idea what to do to save anything
So I start looking for things that thrive on neglect

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