The cicada, little clock of self-sacrifice,
true bug of Jesus,
emerges in multitudes
to the waiting mouths of predators
so that a few might survive
to procreate. And while I, too,
have heard my biological timepiece ticking,
shaved and spread my legs
for it, fragrant and freshly vaccinated,
my heart would beat as neither
mother nor martyr.
Woman is man’s most successful
I am no exception, childless or child-free.
There’s no escape
until, of course, there is--
but not as the machines we were.
Our wristwatches seize
the spike tooth every sixty seconds,
the gold eyelid closes
slowly, blades of sun
blaring off the lake at solstice.
Previously published in Southern Indiana Review
Kathy Fagan’s fifth collection of poems is Sycamore (Milkweed Editions, 2017). Her first collection, The Raft, won the National Poetry Series; her second, MOVING & ST RAGE, won the Vassar Miller Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council. Her work is widely anthologized, and recent work appears in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, and Narrative. Fagan directs the Creative Writing Program at The Ohio State University and serves as Series Editor of the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Poetry Prize.