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Thursday, September 09, 2021


by Indran Amirthanayagam

Eva Millwood holds Brood X cicadas on her property in South Knoxville in this photo at Hellbender Press.

Who recalls Brood X cicadas today, after Hurricane Ida,
earthquake in Southern Haiti, flight of refugees and US military
from Afghanistan? What about the deranged Sri Lankan who
knifed six people in an Auckland supermarket? They have not
expired I read, thank God. Meanwhile, Uncle Gratien went off
to the shade with thousands of others this week in the pandemic.
So how to take stock, to sift through losses: eleven drowned
in New York City basements as Ida roared past, twenty odd
their lungs filled in cars and basements, crushed by trees
in New Jersey, and then in Louisiana, millions without power,
hundreds without homes, various bodies but miracle of miracles,
the reinforced levees of New Orleans held. But then the next
question, for how much longer? And where are sump pumps
today in Home Depot? Can we make sense, God, of these
disparate violations, punishments by wind, fire and tectonic
plates? Yes, I forgot there are thousands of acres and some houses
burning in California. So back towards the future. Where are Brood X
cicadas now, and have they turned into Brood X1? Are they ready
to fly 17 years early just in case the globe cannot cope and needs
another miracle to keep its head above water, above the fire line.

Indran Amirthanayagam produced a “world" record in 2020 by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He has just published Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and has twenty poetry books as well as a music album Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube.