Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cicadas Part 2: To Dust

By Robert Langellier

Yo this is Part 1

Soon, the genocide begins.

The great predators of the air swoop down and attack, day and night, without cease. In droves, they come. The great predators of the air outmatch us in every ability, for they have lived on the earth for many hundreds of suns, and they have grown massive by it and they have learned great flying skills by it that we will never know, because we are to die, and soon. Their talons are sharp and infinitely large, but it is of no matter because we are swallowed up whole by their beaks in an instant. We never have to suffer from the talons.

Those who are taken by the great predators of the air are the fortunate brothers, at least those which have already mated and prepared for their deaths. They are lucky, for you cannot see anything inside the bellies of the great predators, or even in the bellies of the legged predators of the earth. And the sights of the earth have become grotesque as the suns grow hotter and hotter.

I limp across the pavement and weep and shudder and I stop and continue and weep some more. I stop again. All around me lie the bodies of my brothers, littering the concrete like leaves or sticks, only tinier and weaker and barely more alive. My brethren are everywhere, sick and malnourished and weak and ever aging, and they remind me of me, for I am sick and malnourished and weak and very old. I still don’t have a mate.

There are piles of them everywhere I go. To my left, endless bodies. To my right, endless bodies. And ahead of me and behind me, there are bodies. I come to a crack where there are six bodies all dead lined up and touching, and I have no choice but to crawl over my own brothers to continue. I need a mate. I am dying. I have none yet, and I am dying, and there will soon be no more suns. And my brothers are dead everywhere.

The worst part of it is that many are alive, but only enough to twitch and pretend that they are not about to die. I grow jealous of the thought that, perhaps, the great predators of the air and the earth never have to crawl over their own dead brothers and see them piled up like leaves and sticks everywhere they go.

Up ahead a female is weak and lying on her back. She is trying desperately to right herself, and her legs continually flail into the air and her wings are spastic and scared. I see that one of her wings is broken anyway. I can tell that she has no idea what she could do, even if she did right herself. She would simply be stuck again, and again, and again, until she was not strong enough anymore to right herself and let death add her to the myriads and the piles. Perhaps she is already at this point. She is too weak for me to mate with, anyway, and there are too many others for me to help. I limp past her and ignore her desperate struggles, and it hurts me, but I do not let it affect my limp.

By nineteenth sun the genocide is over. The predators of the air have grown fat and healthy, and they no longer care to hunt us like they once did. Many hundreds of millions of my brothers have died at the hands of these predators, and in my safe tree I mourn for them and call for my female with my luring song.

I do not care to continue anymore. Now, on this nineteenth hot sun, even my body begins to concede. My poor and wretched state on this overwhelming earth has been a pathetic stain, and I know it, and only in brothers’ song do I amount to something significant. And so, two trees from where I shed my skin many suns ago, I sing and I do not eat and I sing until nighttime, and I go to sleep and wake up and sing.

On the twenty-second sun, I see two below me on the pavement, on the pavement littered with bodies. The pavement is a graveyard, and it is awful to look at, and it reminds me of my many fears and my very near future and I want to die. The two meet, and the male clicks with his torso, and he turns to her back and they join. I watch them scuttle and limp back and forth together, and together joined, I watch them manifest my dreams below me, and it hurts me. They seem young to me, but I know that they are not. Only young to me. As I sit in the tree I wonder if his song was more enchanting than mine. It must have been.

Now it is late on the twenty-second sun, and I know that my body has died. I sit, clenched upon my leaf, sticking to it without moving, as I have for the past two suns. I have not found a mate. As I listen, I realize that my brothers’ song has diminished. They are dying, too. We are no longer strong like we used to be, and I among the many am now mateless, sightless, and am very much released.


  1. I didn't think it was possible, but you made me feel empathy toward cicadas. Good work, I really enjoyed it.