Light brighter than the sun
pierced the midsummer night.
Thunder on the mountain.
We counted the storm’s distance
in seconds and clicks—how far,
how much time to get to safety.
When we reached the cabin porch
fireflies danced unconcerned
above the lawn, a more constant,
inconsistent illumination of the night.
We rented that cottage from a Vietnam vet
who wakes each day in those green mountains,
thinks of the terrible things happening
all over the world, and wonders
how he got to be so lucky.
I got lucky once—in a lottery.
I forget passwords and phone numbers
more often now but not that one.
It’s shorter but I don’t think that’s why.
A firefly got stuck in the porch ceiling.
It flickered as it crawled along the edge of a board,
unable to find his way out.
We wanted to free him but thought,
one firefly, why bother.
I finally found a broom and swept him out
of the space between two boards.
He darted and flashed in front of us,
then made his way back into the night.