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Myles Taylor

Ode to Cicada Shells

My favorite part was always the eyes.

Thinnest glass encasing what once navigated

such a bulbous body around bark, slow step

over textured plastic before splitting free,

leaving all that heavy on a toddler slide, or

porch beam, or well-climbed tree. I loved

in the summers, and if I loved you, you would find

a small, crinkling body attached to your sleeve.

A laugh in the dark like a firefly searching

through cupped palms. I blame nobody for angering.

Despite shouting it’s just a shell! at the girls

I thought I was better than, different from

for the dirt under my nails, I had phobias, too.

I was irrationally afraid of the hatched versions,

their thick winged bodies and giant eyes, free

of the glass they hid behind. I wonder if they realized

they were seeing through a lens their whole lives.

I’m too tired for the rest of the metaphor. I wanted

to write a carefree poem about love and bugs

and not the boy stuck inside of them. My best friend

never fully forgave me for all the shells on the swing set.

For the layers I was born into, that I’ve been cracking open

one by one, rubbing my fingers against their eye sockets

and saying, look how smooth. Look how fragile. I know

it’s scary, but look at all that un-life. How un-dangerous it could be.


Myles Taylor is a Boston-based non-binary poet, host, organizer, Capricorn-Aquarius cusp, and glitter enthusiast. They are the former Slam Master of the Emerson Poetry Project and current Editor-in-Chief of CORRIDORS, a literary magazine focused on student mental health. They represented Emerson College at CUPSI for 3 consecutive years, winning Best Poem in 2018, and represented the Boston Poetry Slam at NPS 2017. Their work can be found in Crab Fat Magazine, voicemail poems, Slamfind, and Beech Street Review. Catch them at open mics around the Northeast, or arguing with the espresso machine at their day job.

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