“Brood” by Matthew Travieso Williams

Mother tells me
the tree still limbs carry scars.
Seventeen years ago
the bark parted like lips,
and eggs fell.
Nymphs emerge from dirt
and strip. Husks rustle
under a canopy of leaves.
I run with the other
neighborhood boys
attempt to grasp
a cicada in hand,
inspect a compound eye.
The body crushed
has my fingertips
black, slick with insides.
Wet grass is cool wiping
my palms, pursuing another.

Matthew Travieso Williams is a Sacramento native serving with Peace Corps as a TEFL Instructor in Mongolia. His work has appeared in Switchback and Collective Fallout. When not writing or reading, he enjoys singing in the shower loud enough for neighbors to bang on the wall.



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