Woke from restless sleep at a north-facing window, the gibbous moon’s light bathing the curtain of woods at the edge of our yard in that monochrome relief I so love – daytime’s Technicolor bled to noir shadow – surprised by a constellation of fireflies flashing and flickering there like Christmas lights strung across the trees or the stars themselves shaken down. The surprise was not that there were fireflies out there, but that there were so many!
This past covid year we have lived at home, have dreamed of travel, have become so bored with the sameness of our rooms and routines. Funny, how the night before our dream comes true, a vacation flight to California(!), this 3 am interlude shocks me awake to a delightful pageant — frankly worthy of Yosemite — occurring all summer every evening right in my proverbial (and actual) backyard!
I sit up in my bed at the window, hugging a pillow, enraptured by a silent spectacle that blips streaks and fizzes at varying heights across the moonlit forest backdrop, my sleepy head imagining a flashlight ballet, though each of these winged insects winks not in synch but in competition with his mates, their twinkling display one of Nature’s finer than strictly necessary embellishments, certainly one of its most brilliant expressions of a yearning all living things – and that means me too – plead across our brief lives, a controlled ignition in their loins intermittent, briefly dazzling (dangerous too as it exposes the firefly to predators), the whole moonlit woods decorated with urgent flares that blink one appeal (supplication) at great expense across a summer night – fuck me, please! Fuck me! Fuck me please! (Visual equivalent of the cicada hordes’ relentless droning symphony.) If I am to leave any mark, if my line is to continue, please find me worthy: Let me get a leg over, please! We haven’t long! On this moonlit summer night, perhaps our last, won’t you find me worthy, please?
Fireflies or lightning bugs – what we called them as kids?
One thought on “Notes Toward a Poem about Fireflies”
i’ll always recall a night in the late 70s or early 80s when we had a guest to dinner on our deck. he swore he had NEVER seen lightning bugs before. he asked what they were.
i don’t recall his name but i know he worked in seattle for boeing computer services.(bob also worked for BCS at the time but he worked near tysons corner.) i’ll always recall the radiant joy on his face as he saw lightning bugs for the first time.
have a great trip! are all 4 of you going or just you and chris? looking forward to great postings about your california eurekas.