When Once We Were Fireflies


I wrote this for you, reader,
not to explain how the sparrows
have overtaken the feeder
meant for all the hummingbirds,

or how it is you came to prefer
Blake above Whitman, why
you like his chimney sweeps
before his tiger burning bright.

No, I wrote this with the hope
that you might stroll with me under
the full moon casting shadows,

and later we might sip a wine
out back beside the chiminea,
near enough to the moon we’ll
pretend it speaks with us as well

of Blake and Whitman, each
of us aware that we are multitudes,
that we have swept our share
of chimneys through the years.

And later, should a monsoon storm
put out all the village lights,
we can stay by the fire and shift
to the smiles of wine and shadows,

delighted both are present here
when the half-burnt log splits,
and handfuls of embers sizzle
in the mist, amazed at the colors,

until the moon tells us it’s time
all the fireflies be put to bed,
when we will sing a final rain song,

as leaves of grass appear between our toes.

Richard Fenwick

Richard Fenwick’s poetry has been published in numerous American and UK journals, and his first collection, Around the Sun Without a Sail, was published in 2012. Richard lives in Tucson, Arizona, where he works with Holocaust survivors, translating their histories for publication. His follow-on collection, Unusual Sorrows, is scheduled for publication in early 2015.

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