The Jade Cicada

Folded wings over your stone thorax,
seafoam-shade polished stuff, in a shop
I have never set foot in before today,

an old man tells me your meaning: rebirth.
He ties you on a silk cord, bids me farewell,
and retires, beginning a new life, free

of these old boddhisattvas, the slim
goddess Kuanyin, and a fat mahogany
baby foot that keeps one from being

too greedy. Stone bug, you make no summertime
hum, quiet in your yellow zipped pouch.
You are a gift for my beloved on the eve

of his hard-won promotion: lift from him
his headaches, the pain in his right eye,
and let him forget the slights of stupid people

as he retires from the underground labors
of the powerless. Who knows how that feels
better than you, jade cicada? So show us

how your wings sing, rough cry when the cycle
comes around and you climb out, the sun
rising over a ploughed field, green sprouts

breaking through rich soil: you emerge
after seventeen long years like some
divinity! Now you live by drinking the dew.

 

 

Chloe Martinez received the MFA for Writers from Warren Wilson College, the MA in Creative Writing from Boston University, and a PhD in Religious Studies from UC Santa Barbara. She teaches on the religions of South Asia, at Claremont McKenna College. Her poetry has appeared in journals including the Normal School, the Collagist, and Crab Orchard Review, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

 

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