Summer 2021 Cicadas
by Ellen Steinbaum
They’re my last cicadas, though who can be sure,
of course. Given my age and their infrequent outings,
like scheduled comets and eclipses, they could be
penultimate, but most likely my concluding swarm.
Every seventeen or thirteen years they come–both
prime numbers, though I think they have a mathematics
of their own: each one’s four to six week life, the group’s
existence for five million years, how they arrive by trillions—
harmless, loud, and food (high protein, low carb, gluten
free) for anything that eats—with numbers as their
sole survival plan. And despite the odds, after
the years of quarantine, each one bursts back
into the world with gusto and with all their hunger
and not a moment’s hesitation, unlike me.