The Cicada Summer by Dorothy Featherstone Porter

Cath would never forget
that hot terrible Sydney summer
of bushfires
and cicadas,
cicadas so loud
she thought they’d trill
in her deafened ears

the summer
she and Bill never talked about
the summer
she found a lucky cicada
clinging to the bark
of a rusty old gum
perfect in every detail
until it disintegrated
to nasty grit
in her pocket

the summer
Bill’s mum got sick
and the summer
a weird kid
(what was his name?)
fell out of her treehouse
and nearly died.

Bill’s mum
didn’t fall out of a tree cubby
but a year later
she did die.

His father remarried –
a real tart,
who wore a gold lame bikini
that showed everything,
and had enamelled blonde hair
that looked like
it had been cemented
to her head
a complete bitch
who hated kids
even her own sorry

That summer of cicadas.
That hot loud
terrible time.

No wonder
Bill came to Melbourne.


Date: 2007

By: Dorothy Featherstone Porter (1954-2008)


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