Dry Spell


La chicharra, Spanish for ‘‘cicada,’’
trills with not one but two rolling r’s
like the charlado who won’t stop
talking because he has too much to say.

Fallen dead on the sidewalk, though,
his song is hushed, a shell emptied out,
carapace of silence, once a chorus,
lacelike wings enfolded, mute supplicant.

Shell fired in terra cotta, ashen undercarriage,
pale green wing sockets the residue of life,
from nymph to imago, tracheae and tymbal,
rhapsode of the letter i in summer’s dry season.

Muezzin droning late in the afternoon
but in a minaret upended, riven down,
the faithful looking on from above,
the one below desiccated, disgorged, callado.