Fireflies

Summer continues to roll by; each night I count fewer and fewer fireflies. When I was young I received a gift from my parents — a jar with a dark green lid and holes — from which fireflies lit the dark of my room like the stars painted on the walls.

Two weeks ago while babysitting the house, with the last periwinkle decaying in the sky, I went out with a glass jar and sealing wrap to try my luck. I dropped one, two, three of the leaf-scented flies into my trap, then sealed and knifed holes through the film and watched. To my panic they did not light.

I watched them troop up the jar, fall, troop up the jar then press their red maculae on the film. One following the lead of other, I watched them wriggle their sunflowerseed bodies between the seal and glass.

I felt bad and peeled the wrap off. Then in the near-dark I watched them poise on the rim and open their soft black elytra. Their gray wings came out and took them up the night, lighting glows as they left, their legs splayed back towards the jar like divers.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

 

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