December 2012 - Comments Off

The Bulb Isn’t Really Fire

Laura Creste '13

At night in the backyard
A. smokes a spliff, offers it
to me. I decline. The sick
tree cut down last week

leaves us exposed in the garden.
In the neighbors’ window now
the light is harsh yellow at dusk.
I stand on the lowest step

with A. on the ground at eye level,
and he can’t see the fireflies,
electric behind his head.
I used to think they turned

into fairies at night.
No you didn’t, he says.
Yes I really believed that.
I caught them, stored

in jars, the acrid insect
fear smelling on my palms.
My hands cup and it’s easy again –
their slow, drugged movement.

Preening in their own light
they beat still like a helicopter;
a hummingbird I’d have said
if I grew up in the country.

Catch and release three in a row.
A. waits; for now there is nowhere
else he would be.

They glow, radiantly pained.

Published by: in Poetry, Volume 69: Issue 1

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