mjblathers

dark poet who loves to laugh


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excerpt from AS SPARKS FLY UPWARD

TRAVIS: Gonna show him the star, Tadpole?
HICCUP (chuckling): Tadpole?
TRAVIS:  Yeah. That’s his real name.
TODD: That’s my nickname, Dopey.
HICCUP: What star?
TRAVIS: The soup makes a star when they’s tomatoes in there. And Ma makes us butter worms, too.
HICCUP: You eat ’em?
TRAVIS: Sure!
Rather than try to explain, Todd motions for the boys to climb up to look into the kettle he is stirring. As the soup simmers and bubbles in toward the center, the tomato foam creates a writhing star in the center. Travis jumps down and runs to glom soft butter onto one soda cracker and then cover it with another and squeeze down so yellow ‘worms’ ooze out the tiny holes. The brothers laugh as Hiccup tries to do it, too.


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cicadas

quiet

a decade and a half and more

seventeen years underground

and then

a hummed eruption

thousands climbing

millions

scaling trees

shedding exoskeletons

emerging hundreds of millions

red eyes, dark thorax

billions of orange wings

vibrating a low hum

building, churning

roiling the air

beating, drumming

a constant, incessant

thundering

enticing

birds, raccoons and frogs

to gorge

as cicadas gorge

mutual frenzy

of sound and feasting

devouring

death

and then

again

quiet

for seventeen years

underground

so children

grow not believing

the stories of tumultuous

sound

of billions of

cicadas