not when as a nymph I emerge
from the underground where I have already lived years
but when I pull myself, vibrating and fragile,
from this shell already grown brittle
and too small.
Between my eyes, my body first splits open.
Unzips down my back like a cocktail dress
as I wriggle out my head. One desperate moment
as wing buds catch and (my heart in my mouth
what if I never get free)
I flex and arch for sky, four membranes suddenly blooming
from my shoulders.
Hollow legs cling at last to discarded exoskeleton.
A pause to catch my breath, soft flesh hardening
in first exposure to the sun.
Before I go, I will arrange my leftovers
carefully in a chair at the family table,
disguising my departure as long as possible.
[Image by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Molting Cicada (Cicadidae), CC BY-SA 2.0]