The Chorus

By Danielle DeTiberus

Seventeen years worth of aerating
and waiting: a million untraceable

sirens. From my porch, it sounds like the howl
of winter gales: a pre-solstice storm

born underground. Everywhere,
now, they lilt and crisp on telephone poles,

on the side of the road. Swarms above my head
pay no attention. Even the birds have stopped

singing in the morning. Cicadas call, flash
orange-veined wings, small scarves

out of the magician’s hat. The tar outside
my house is pockmarked with rot. The dying

look for bark next to the empty shells
of last week’s nymphs. The lucky cling

there, like martyrs in an ancestral graveyard,
in the midst of all the unholy business

of barbeques, the mailman, and the Monarchs.
Next month, after they have all died, I will go

back to listening to the radio, or to silence.
No more trace of raucous breathing. The ground

will swallow them up again in one
slow, hot inhale. A final act

of sorcery. The trees mark this year
with a rich, wide ring. Soil sweetened by this

resource, this rapid pulse of life. Thumb-sized
shaman who come up from tunnels and roots

to remind us again—just when we begin to forget
it’s possible—how to die gracefully, and in chorus.

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