March 1996


Little specks of light
-transient wisps of energy-
Danced before my eyes
In the darkening dusk.

I caught them with my little hands
And put them in a jar.
A jar with big holes so they could breathe,
But cheesecloth so they couldn't escape.
I put in grass so they could eat,
In case that was what they liked.

I took the jar up to my room
And fell asleep watching
The yellow sparks.

They never lasted long
In the jar,
So I set them free the next morning
And caught new ones later on.

We've moved away from there now.
Here, there aren't many fireflies.
I wonder if someone caught them all
And forgot to let them go the next morning.
Or if I'm just too busy to notice anymore
When they dance before my eyes.

© Lorrin Nelson
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