Fireflies after thunder …

“There is a kind of beetle in Malaysia, one with shimmering capabilities—a firefly. … Clouds of these creatures buzzed and circled just below the forest canopy … Beneath them the forest floor was bright, the broad-leafed ferns, spiky flowers, and twining creepers looking nearly neon underneath their gleam. Above them the umbrella of epiphyte-draped foliage hovered, dark and nearly impenetrable, and beyond that, night rolled out like the inside of a sock or glove, moonless and papered with wan stars.”

—From “Glow, Little Glow Worm,” between the DEAD LOVE covers. (more in from this selection at a later date in “Chapters”)

Fireflies after thunder . . .

Fireflies after thunder:
lights winking on as if
life scattered kisses — dandelion-light,
into the dark cloud damp,
and they have stuck there
on a fly-paper of shadow,
on a moment that, like a shade drawn,
counts itself down.

And the moisture rises up,
a hand’s heel pressing into my cranium.
Fireflies follow, their flickering lights —
hatchlings — a contagion, touch of life and death
that I now carry inside me.


—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/the Daily Slice