Seventeen year cicadas
strange animals in our midst once again
seventeen years ago I collected information
wondered if I’d remember anything when they came back
Still I don’t know:
what do these things do in life?
what is the purpose of those who ask the question?
Do the cicadas have their own sense of time
a calendar, a number system, based on seventeen?
I read the news, I found some things out:
seventeen years the eggs underground,
germinating longer than any other insect.
Now that they’re out all they do is sing and mate!
They don’t even need to eat.
No wonder the Indians thought them a delicacy,
so much as the bugs celebrate the best in life.
You can pluck them from the air and gobble them right up then and there
A good source of protein.
Seventeen years, and back for just a few weeks.
Those lost red eyes—
why are we here?
what does this world mean after sixteen years underground?
Every seventeen years I’ll check in on what happens.
I’ll trace the memories of their return.
Seventeen years from now it may all make sense.
Certain situations will be resolved.
There will be other, outward problems to face.
I will not be able to solve them alone.
There will be low soft whooms in the trees.
Fluttering wings struggling to lift us between the trees.
We will stare up again and wonder:
who else has had to wait so long to face the air?
No reason to go on except the only reason that matters:
there is nothing else to do
this is the plan
this is our place in the plan
this is the sound. 
|1||Ten years ago the machines failed us as no one was in charge.|
|2||The looming subsumes us from war to peace.|
|3||You remember the story (it’s not yet over)|
|4||The voice of the wind,|
|5||There’s an old swing set rusting in the woods.|
|6||Someone blew up the mountain|
|7||The old order is turned asunder|
|8||A bomb left a hole gaping at the street corner|
|9||The philosopher has returned to his homeland|
|10||You enter the room and the day is still sunny|
|12||What changes is the will to change|
|13||One song after another, not to impress,|
|14||If you’re driving long enough|
|15||This age of ours always hangs on|