The last time the cicadas climbed out of their underground burrows, drunk on sap and eager to mate, Carter was only seven years old. He had pinned the delicate creatures to his shirt like jewelry and declared himself an evil queen until one of the older boys had called him a fag.
Seventeen years later, a cicada crawled up Carter’s arm and whispered in his ear.
“Fag,” the cicada said.
Carter plucked it from his sleeve and stared into its eyes, two red beads like taillights retreating into the dark, the car of his latest ex-girlfriend.
“Quiet,” Carter said and crushed it.
Maureen Traverse recently received her MFA from Ohio State University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.