Where Have All the Fireflies Gone?

Where Have All the Fireflies Gone?

As a small child
I caught fireflies in the summer
because that was natural
for kids my age.

I’d use them as nature’s night light,
marveling at their bioluminescence,
wondering why they seemed
dimmer from my mason jar,

saddened and bewildered
by their slow death
and refusal to eat the grass
I placed in the jar for them.

To this day,
I still have no idea
if fireflies eat grass or not.

Never bothered to do the research.

“Hey man.
You play the hand you were dealt.”

That was my boiler-plate response
to anyone who asked about
the state of my first marriage.

It was a flippant, self-mocking
simultaneously answering
nothing and everything.

Don’t know why I took
such a resigned stance
on being unhappy, lonely,
and with the wrong person.

Didn’t even try to hide
my dismissive shrug
from inside my mason jar.

I often thought that
if I reshuffled the deck,
I’d someday find the right person,
and that would fix everything.

Simply a matter of finding
the right grass to add, right?

Outside right now,
there is a bird singing his little heart out
at the cloud-obscured sunset.

I’m unfamiliar with the tone and cadence,
but it rings of a desolation and isolation
I haven’t heard in a long time.

Its song goes unanswered.

The ebullience of a neighbor’s deck party
partially drowns him out.

Their unnatural laughter
reminds me of a henhouse
agitated into commotion
by an invading fox.

Its cacophony
cancels-out the bird’s efforts.

He soon falls silent,
leaving only the sounds
of the fox-stirred coop,
its revelry soon extinguished by
a spontaneous late spring shower.

Nature always wins.

Now that I’m thinking about it,
I can’t recall the last time I saw a firefly.
I wonder why that is?

3 thoughts on “Where Have All the Fireflies Gone?

  1. The perfect song too. I miss them as a group so much and still cannot believe that Maxie is gone.

    I love the title and your play on words in several places of the poem speaks of your style and your constant efforts of sharing great work.


  2. I enjoy the birdsong too. I’m irritated when my neighbours are loud with their chatter, music or buzzing gardening tools. I understand there’s work to be done in the garden but sometimes people can be too selfish with their self-made noise. I sit outside on my patio and just listen to the birds and enjoy the company of my fiance and dogs. 🙂
    I like how your poem is in different but related parts, it is like a mini-biography – more personal than a straight biography. Nature is soothing for the soul.


  3. Wow, Barry! I am so impressed by your writing skills as this story unfolds in interconnected chapters, with so much life wisdom and insights into the human condition to impart. Very powerful words, dear poet.


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