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Firefly

by Catherine Pierce


Its six legs coated with disease, it’s vulgar
like the aphid, the earwig. Its eyes are nightmare

globes. It does not love you or thank you
for the glass jar with air holes. Still, you want it

in your hands. Not for its yellow light like the soft
glow in the wooded cabin. Not for the vibrating

wings against your palms like champagne
bubbles bursting. Not even for the perfect

metaphors that ride on its sunflower-seed back—
the catching of a gone childhood, the memory

of keeping something alive. You pursue it
because it’s a slow beast, easily captured. Because

it hovers and floats. Because you can win at this,
and because it will fly off when you unfold

your hands, single-minded, unmoved by its loss.

 

Catherine Pierce is the author of Famous Last Words (Saturnalia, 2008) and the forthcoming The Girls of Peculiar (Saturnalia, 2012). She lives in Starkville, Mississippi, where she co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State University. (5/2011)


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