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My Motherís Jewels


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.


Suzanne Doyle



© 1992 Suzanne J. Doyle.  Used by permission.



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