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Poetry by Mallory Payne

cicada/cigarette sludge song

there’s a cicada on
the porch callin’ me
back home but i
refused to open the glass
door and this morning it
died belly up in my
ashtray drowning in
smog and cigarette butts.
the cat wails at its corpse
like she’s mockin’ its
call home. i pet her until she
quits yowlin’ and we hold a wake
for the unfortunate creature
that failed to bring me back
to a place i fled like a coward.
to hell with greener pastures,
i crave the obscurity of this
metropolis hellscape to this
place with no more cicada
songs. where i am anonymous
except for my one-time lover who
cared more about watchin’ themselves
cum in the mirror than knowin’ me.
the cicada knew me, it must’ve.
otherwise it wouldn’t have died in the
warmth of my saliva and the dyin’
embers of my favorite cigarettes,
with my last breath still in the filter.

cicada/person/spider funeral song

the cicada on my porch ain’t dead.
it’s trapped in a spider web,
eulogized for nothin’.
it cries for help.
the cat cries,
i’m cryin’,
i can’t stop.
death is inevitable.
the spiders here hunt
people for sport,
draggin’ em back to
hell and lettin’ em rot.
the cicada and i rot
together in the web.
set adrift on the potomac
and burned alive in my ashtray
before we drown
in the sludge.
melting together,
exoskeleton
bones
flesh
sinew
guts
with torn papery wings
and a transparent thorax
half-digested in spider stomach.

Mallory Payne

Twitter: @paynemal_
IG: @mallory.paynee

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