By Anne Pitkin
Crickets and katydids shrilled
through the summer nights, along with music
from the shantytown taverns—
and lightning bugs like struck match embers
floated on a sea of night air.
On–off, on-off through mist that rose evenings,
they bobbed low to the grass and slow
enough for us to catch them in our hands,
our blood illuminated, fingers red.
We were certain they lit the earth for our pleasure,
as if their amorous signaling had anything to do with us.
We trapped them in jars—all that starlight—
claiming what was never ours.
Later, we’d release them,
a fountain into the dark, a cheer
Copyright Pitkin 2019