The Seventeen Year Locust

The Seventeen Year Locust

Like the cicada she rises

After seventeen long years

Lifted from her cave

Beneath the earth’s surface.


The dirt, the debris

The weight of the years

Has caused her fragile wings

To snap upon first flutter.


She waits on the ground

While the others, who

Too waited for the light

Of first morning break free.


Alone, left behind

She waddles along

The dirt pathway,

Ignored by all.


As the others mate,

Flapping through the air,

Fluttering together,

Intimately, briefly-


She watches in

Stunned silence,

Chirping to herself,

Jealousy, jealousy.


For she was born

To be beautiful, her

Exoskeleton perfectly

Molded to fit against the curves of her-



She flaps,

Attempting to take flight,

And, of course, goes nowhere.





Above her,

The dance of love breathes,

Betraying her heart

With every flutter.



Each is paired,

And none are spared

From their inevitable,

Early demise.


They lay their eggs,

Tiny, slimy products

Of a brief and breathless

Winged encounter-




They die.

The parents die.


Their love is forgotten,

The eggs wait,

Alone, under the surface,

For seventeen hapless years.


And she, who is

Unpaired, waits for death

To greet her slowly.

The others dead, she lives on for months.


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