In memory of my grandparents, may they rest in peace

On a quiet street of brick and oaks,
the mind of high summer:
a pale green notion of sound
cicadas, thinking with their wings —
possessing the treetops
in irridescent plunder
like the sacred scarabs of Egypt,
land of our bondage.

on a street like many others,
they observe tricycles and dogs,
a suburban tangle of kindred dwellings
and streets with English names.
Their jeweled bodies fall to the sidewalk
for my sister and I to collect.

We didn’t know they would rot
when we took them home in yogurt cups
our grandparents gave us.
So we were prepared when they both left us —

first Grandpa’s fall down the stairs
into a basement he never visited
(which was, I suspect, caused by a vision of Hashem
he loved in secrecy)
then, Grandma’s surrender in a hospital bed
where she passed her time counting birds
and waiting for our calls —
and the brick house was sold to the highest bidder.

The cicadas still hum,
but I will not be there to hear them —
though I can still smell the white scent of laundry
and the dill in chicken soup
and hear them arguing about the price of gas,
their love for each other as secret as their love for G-d —
but they have gone to another place.

I couldn’t see the colors of cicadas
when they were humming in the trees.
Now that they have fallen,
I can’t take them back home.

© Psyche Marks 2006

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