From Grafton Bridge

I walked out onto the bridge, the hot darkness broken up by the pools of orange light cast by the streetlamps.  As I walked I looked down into the gully below, a riot of undergrowth split apart by several ribbons of empty motorway.  A figure approached, small at first, then revealing itself to be a girl, the shadow across her averted face making it difficult to guess her age.  She kept her eyes to the ground as she passed, not wanting to make eye-contact with a stranger in the night.  Nearing the farther end of the bridge the desperate rasping cries of the cicadas, stirred into a frenzy over the past week or so of indian summer, grew steadily louder.  I soon noticed them sitting on the struts of the plexiglass barrier arching up to prevent jumpers from finding their death below.  I caught two in my hands, pinching their wings between my fingertips I examined their swollen forms.  They chirped in alarm as I held them, and I released them again, first one, which flew off immediately to find sanctuary again in the darkness, then the second.  It didn’t take wing straight away, though, but sat perched on the end of my finger for a minute or so.  It turned first this way then that, then lifted its forelegs into the air, waving them around like it was performing some intricate incantation.  Finally I grew tired of it and at a touch from my finger it flew off to fulfill its own small purpose.


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