Benjamin Kaja


fallen cicada,
            not the usual     split-back    molt-shell
            cicada     found on June (bug) nights, but a
            full-weight dead-body cicada
            in August.

I lifted you from your last green leaf,
            set you on the windowsill
            and waited—




            Autumn     winds
            grow     strong—

tiny shriveled eyes
            like white raisins.

color, lightening to spring green.

legs, crumpled inward,     fetal.

thorax, plump   and sectioned.

wings, immaculate.




hot days shorten.
            sun falls across the sill
            differently these days.
shade comes to your ledge
            most of the time:

time shrunk your
            eyes, sunken-in like miniscule spoons.
            legs, relaxed and slumped.

            thorax appears as if in mid exhale:
                        the sections sucked-in, rigid, and straining—like the joints
                        of a turning train on a sharp curve.

wings, still translucent, green-web veins
            drying out, wrinkling.




many long weeks you set
upon that sill
ever still

burial planned,   body aging,

            those decaying leaves—

as the colors turned in branches

            something burned the air—

your remains, traceless

windowsill,   stark blank,   and restless.




I    see   the silhouette of your
body:    just    glimpses—nothing   certain/ nothing
focused/ always    fleeting/ hocus
pocus/ wind    wind       wind/

                          on the sill    now
                          nothing   sits still.




leaves take turns landing,
briefly resting on your sill
before they wave away in twirls

but not the green leaves like those you fell
on in August, some yellow
poplar, orange maple—mostly brown oak.

frost rests like silt in the morning.

the katydids, crickets, and cicadas have abandoned
their trees and the nights—though their thrum
is still ringing in my ears.




it’s your ghost     the echoes of memory     constantly migrating
south    along the jetstream    then swept East     in Caribbean tradewinds
to Barbados

and it is there I will be    chasing the ghost     a long way
from here     I will find you     the window will be left open     no one will be around
iced rum on the table    its sweat dripping thick water rings on a glass
table    and it is there I will let you go     just as I found you    resting
full-bodied on a green leaf    beneath the windowsill.