Rivers Are Damp

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Two Poems About Fireflies

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I’m no poet, as you’ll soon see, but my last post—which mentioned the decline in firefly populations—caused me to remember a poem I’d written in grad school.  And when I finally located the old folder with my grad school-era poems, I found two poems mentioning fireflies.  (These were probably written in 1990 and 1991.)

Letter to My Sister

It is humid here, and hot.
At dusk, I sit on my balcony
to feel the occasional breeze.
I let my bare legs hang over the edge,
despite (my fear of) the height.

As it gets darker,
I bring out a Mexican beer or a Coke
to accompany the folk music
on my portable radio.

Every night, I sit
and await the shade of night
that best shows off the lightning bugs.

The fireflies make me think back
to Grandma Vera’s house,
where kin from far off would come
and gather near the front porch.
The kids from back east (or out west),
where there are apparently no lightning bugs,
would try to catch them in jars
to take back home.

Only now,
having moved a thousand miles from you
and often feeling very lonely,
do I really appreciate the lightning bugs.

They connect this place to home,
and to you.


From the balcony,
I realize there are
no more
fireflies.  There haven’t been
for weeks.
It is too hot.

In four weeks,
I will be moving away
from this place and
from this balcony.

I do not even know
where I’m going.

But I know
I will never
know the fireflies
this well

© 2008 Rivers Are Damp

Written by Jimmy

September 14th, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Jay

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