Bright Nights City Lights, Jackie Phuong Ta
the first time i heard cicadas, singing to one another in the dark
canopy of trees i thought it was my father snoring,
the heaviness of his sleep shaking the walls
between our bedrooms & i thought he was alive then, thought
we were there home, only. only we were here
an entire ocean away from that house
only it was summer in arkansas the heat & humidity
so heavy so oppressive we sat and marveled at it this heat
we would say to one another this heat but at night.
at night the cicadas, snoring in the trees outside the pink house
& it’s funny, you know. how i can’t remember my father’s name
or even his voice, but still every summer the cicadas come calling
calling & then. then i am overwhelmed by this memory
of lying in my bed at night, the sun settling into the pacific
outside my window, open as far as it will go & i am listening.
listening to my father sleeping, shaking. & now.
now the cicadas are at my window, still open as far as it will go but somewhere else
& i still don’t know how i will survive another summer another summer another
summer of this heavy air so thick you can feel it as it seeps
into the small spaces between your bones but the cicadas. the cicadas are calling
& my father is still somewhere, sleeping. snoring
About the Author
Michelle DeLouise · Hendrix College
Michelle DeLouise is a senior at Hendrix College, graduating in May with a degree in English-Creative Writing. Her work can be found in Rising Phoenix Review, Hawai’i Review, Red Flag Poetry, Rookie Mag, The Olive Press, Clementine Unbound, and the Aonian. “Somewhere My Father” first appeared in the Aonian.
About the Artist
Jackie Phuong Ta · SUNY Plattsburgh
Jackie Ta is a senior BFA Artist in Painting and Graphic Design at SUNY Plattsburgh. She is from Vietnam. “Bright Nights City Lights” first appeared in Gandy Dancer.