Night falls dark as new, blue
denim, and fireflies dot the yard
with yellow-green sparks.
They’re seeking mates,
but my boys are watching, too;
hunt them with tennis rackets.
The two of them chase and swing
at every blink of light they see.
When they hit one, it falls
in small glowing streaks
like a little plane shot down,
like a dim shooting star.
I remember killing
dragonflies with a stick,
slicing them in midair, cutting
them to pieces where they landed.
I remember shooting ants
with rubber bands, and nailing crabs
with shells at low tide.
But now I hate killing anything,
even cockroaches. I hate
fishing—the way the worm twists
and lashes when I stick the tip
of the hook up and into
its gooey, boneless body;
the way the fish stares in silence
as I tear the barb out of its mouth.
I’d rather let every living thing
live. I’d rather be like the fireflies:
all light and desire, turning and flashing
midair. Blink. Blink. Blink.
First published in The Progressive, August, 2012