Cicada Shells

Ashton Gares, Contributing Artist

The thunderstorms in Dallas always amaze me.
Though it rains until Fall rears its auburn head,
It hails when Winter awakes from its deep slumber.

The power lines break every Winter, but this doesn’t make a difference.
The apartment is caliginous, frigid and vacant.
Dim light seeps through the busted window and yawning door.
My twitching shadow in front of the door,
Anticipating an invitation into my home.

The wind whispers secrets in my ears, hinting at the footsteps of my neighbors and their drug dealers.
The stomping soles of my father’s boots and the case of beer he carries.
The eerie whistling of my babysitter’s lips and the jingling of his keys.
The distressed sobs of my six-month-old sister and the rustling of blankets protecting her from the filthy apartment floor.

Empty cicada shells blow through the broken window and litter the floor.
A swollen snake with humanesque brown eyes slithers out from under the fridge.
It chases after a baby mouse with deep blue eyes and fur as white as snow
And sink its teeth into it.

A scorpion stabs my foot with its stinger.
The whistling grows louder.
I run, clenching a baby doll with blonde hair and deep blue eyes,
Along with money I have saved from starving myself.

I run to the closet and lock the door out of fear.
I feel tears and blood streaming down my face and tiny fingers.
I hear gunshots and yelling from the living room.
The scorpion hisses and bangs on the door with his fists.
I freeze, as the porcelain doll I have grasped in my hands begins to cry and crack.
The clock has arthritis, and the glass is breaking.