the sprinklers are on
and kids are playing outside
in the mid-July heat
grass sticks to their tiny, bare feet
as their parents gossip next door
the sound of lawnmowers masks it all
this was the smell of tonight

i sat under the porch light
wearing pajamas and flip-flops
the world around me asleep
the air still muggy
a moth flew above my head
i stood up and stepped into the grass
there was a lone firefly
and it reminded me of childhood:

wearing shorts without a shirt or shoes
running to catch fireflies in the heavy dusk
putting them in the mason jars
Mammaw’d use for cannin’ green beans
sometimes i’d forget to poke holes in the lid
and i’d wake in the morning
to realize
their fire was dead
i’d open the lid
to set them free
for them to find that spark again
they wouldn’t move
so i’d dump them out into the grass
and that night
right at dusk
when the fireflies started to move again
i’d try again
and maybe
i wouldn’t forget to poke holes
this time