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.
But most nights we just sit on his porch
outside, in this odd cool summer
air that none of us are quite used to,
talking and smoking and passing
mason jars – it’s an image old as southern
belles, but nonetheless it’s true.
One night Chris points them out, the fireflies
bright against the dark branches and Big Dipper-ed sky.
It’s been a while since I noticed – they’re so few
I’ve almost forgotten they still come
when the weather warms.
But the fireflies are dying. So are the bees. This last summer
was so rainy, more rainy than any season anyone
has ever seen, especially a summer. We couldn’t stop talking
about it, about the rain.
I wanted to talk about the fireflies.