Lake Effect, Volume 26: "Extinction Museum Exhibit #249"

Extinction Museum: "Exhibit #249 (Magicicada Tredecula Pinned to Velvet, Behind Glass)"

By Tina May Hall

One morning, the smoke settles over our yard and we mistake it for fog and then for someone starting the woodstove in August. It has been chilly, grasshoppers feathered with white when I take the dog out at dawn. Those in the know say the city is burning, twelve miles away, and it is true that the sky is orange there. All of our water comes out of the pipe rusty, and we keep pots boiling on the stove for drinking and wiping the soot off our faces when we come inside. Turns out it is just an old factory on fire, one of the abandoned ones where they used to make leather goods. As a teenager, I kissed four hundred first loves among those bricks, stole a pair of periwinkle kid gloves with pearl buttons, shoved my foot into another century with hooks and laces all the way up. The cicadas cough in the oak trees, rattle a storm of acorns down. Their green skin rolls under my sneakers on evening walks. Neighbors drift in and out of the smoke, jingling their keys and leashes. Something new grows in the glum light. A city of toadstools, a lace of cocoons; we all dream of lakes and deep weeds and the sun hard on the surface, a slap of light.