At dusk in midwest summers as a child
The fireflies drew me down into the dark,
Down where the ruddy orchard had gone wild
And berry vines set thorns around their sparks.
A jelly jar with cheesecloth as a lid
Swooped through the heavy air to find its mark.
Live lightning lit the glass and swam and slid
Through all the dark a six-year-old could hold,
And when she called me from the porch I hid,
Though once I ran, obedient, to enfold
My mother silhouetted on the stair,
The one bare bulb behind her burning gold.
She showed me how in childhood she would wear
The firefly on her finger like a ring.
With one white moon of nail while I stood there,
She snapped the lucent body at the wing,
Then fixed the pulsing globe to me with blood
And I thought I would never shake the thing.
So when I heard her voice command, Iíd scoot
Behind the apple branches out of sight,
And breathing in the rot of fallen fruit,
Return my motherís jewels to the night.