Spring of Cicadas

2004 is the spring of cicadas and I am reckless
enough to know I am invincible. I fall in love with someone
new every day, Brett’s shoulder blades, Kathy’s straight

teeth, Alex’s foolhardy hands, know my heart
is a muscle that gets stronger with each time it’s torn
open from the pressure of each ounce of fearless

wanting, from my misguided impulses and across
the basement, unmet glances. The cicadas rip
apart the ground as they emerge, I feel the beating

of their wings in the hollow parts of my chest, a daring
vibration between my lungs, echoing the force
of my pulse. It is the spring I start closing my eyes

while driving, confident in my muscle memory
on the dark backroads of Gaithersburg,
tell myself I can drive uncontrolled

by vision, unaware I will never again trust
myself the way I do now. This is freedom, I whisper
to my empty passenger seat, open my eyes and swerve

back to my lane. The cicadas are gone
by summer, they leave nothing but their exoskeletons,
translucent shells of themselves on the hood

of my car, the trees in friends’ yards, ghosts
of May on dormant fire hydrants, unavoidable
reminders of their demise. When the air is heavy

with humidity, I drive to New York City, visit my friend
who works as an escort on OKCupid, before I am afraid
of highways because it is still days until I collide

with a Jersey barrier, roll my car on 95 South, when my body
survives and the rest of me doesn’t, my daring and certainty left
in my overturned Nissan, now a vacant husk

of who I was moments before. Days until I find shards
of glass in the shower, tucked into my hair, watch
as they wash away, down the drain.


Miriam Kramer is a queer, Jewish poet residing in New Jersey with her partner and two cats. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in So to Speak Journal, FreezeRay Poetry, vulnerary magazine, and others. She has published two chapbooks and is working on a full-length collection. Miriam has read poems to friends and strangers in many parking lots and established venues across the US.