“Locusts” by Laurel Jones

I can taste the silence when they leave, like
copper or dirt and I wonder if they know what it is
to be still and alone. Sometimes I can hear them
when I’m sleeping, a voice in a solemn place.
Their noise echos around the room like the stretch
of flowers, sound searching for light. If I could
gather up their dried overshells that they leave on trees,
behind car tires and on benches, maybe I could hold
their outer layer the way I hold my own bones inside me–
close and pressing. Still, not quite hollow, my bones sleep
cradled within me: the bumps of the spine, the curve of the
ribcage. The thin, pointed fingertip. These are the rocks
I carry within my chest. The locusts have been listening
to my heartbeat; pulsing, sweet. They have been quiet.
They have found the crop. If I asked, they would know the answer.
They would tell me that it’s not death– only bones
like at the church at Kutna Hora with the
40,000 dead all piled and bleached white together.
The locusts stay together and hum. I touch my arms.
I feel the hardness. I will have a garden on my grave.


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