Mark Madigan: “Locust”


I was fourteen
the year they told me
locust were coming.

At night, I’d dream
of thick swarms darkening
the mid-day sky,

the sound of their foraging,
a nonstop chiseling
of teeth and knives.

But they stayed hidden
in the circling trees,
speaking a language

of shimmers and shakes.
But soon I knew it
as a language of waiting,

of messages sent
not in the sounds
but the in-between spaces.

Signaling, as I would,
the times they thought
it was safe to come out.

Mark Madigan’s poetry has previously appeared in American Scholar, Kansas Quarterly, Louisville Review, Midwestern Gothic, Poetry, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere.

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