The Fireflies are Dying

There’s something about this phrase I love – like I could see using it as a title to a collection or something, whenever I get there. It’s been rolling around in my head for a while, so I finally had to do something with it.

So here’s my poem. At least, here’s the first draft. I’m not sure how I feel about it, and it doesn’t feel done yet – I’m heading towards a bigger thought, I know, but it hasn’t gotten clear enough yet. Any thoughts are always appreciated!

The Fireflies are Dying

Maybe it’s a metaphor for growing up, or at least
growing up in the South. Because they were everywhere,
when I was little, “knee-high to a grasshopper,”
and now I barely see them flickering
in the trees out past the Wobbly Box –
the silly name we have for Chris’ tiny trailer. He has to duck
to get inside the door.

We used to catch them in jars at the twilight.
The dog would nip at the flashing little sparks
and we’d call them lightning bugs, you know,
because that’s just what Southerners call them.

The fireflies are dying. So are the bees. This last summer
was so rainy, more rainy than any season anyone
has seen, especially a summer. We couldn’t stop talking
about it, about the rain.
I wanted to talk about the fireflies.

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3 thoughts on “The Fireflies are Dying

  1. This is great. It touches on fond memories that are now linked to a darker reality; that in turn links to something similar (bees dying), and how little credence people seem to be giving these monumental issues. I can’t wait to see the final draft. On a personal note, I saw a firefly for the first time in the city; I’ve seen them in wooded areas plenty but never right near Boston.

  2. I love this. Great extended metaphor.

    You introduce a few things (Chris, tiny trailer, flashback, tension between last two lines) that don’t get fully explained. Is it possible this poem wants to be longer? Lots to explore. Great work.

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