Meditations on Decapitation

By Micah Bradley, with commentary from Teodora Nikolova

I ate a semi-live cicada on a dare.

My Bible teacher plucked the head off for me
It continued to move, and tasted like popcorn hulls
At the bottom of the bag, without any butter
But I told everyone it tasted like chicken.

Those birds can peck with just a neck for days,
Roaches can keep on chugging for weeks,
A human can survive for ten-ish seconds,
But a cicada’s brainless lifespan is a mystery.

If I were decapitated by a guillotine’s shining incisor
What would I use my ten-ish seconds to think about?
My bouncing head’s recent fall?
The dishes I left in the sink?
My family?
Maybe I would think of my cicada,
And its struggling legs getting caught in my braces
And how I will never know what it was thinking,
And no one will ever know what I am thinking,
Not even me, once I can’t hear the cicadas chirping


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