Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Notebook: Lightning Bugs

It's finals week down here in Athens, and I'm already halfway done. When I got back from my Ancient Rome exam tonight though, there was still something sitting with me, some words floating around in the soup, a few lines I had tucked away for remembering. So, I sat down with my notebook and about three hours later, here's what I got. I'd love to hear some responses!

Lightning Bugs
By Blake Tan

The night heavy with moisture,
the air thick with fireflies,
they flicker and flit, alighting
upon the razor tips of fresh-cut grass
like dim candles ensconced in foggy glass.
“Lightning bugs,” you say when one dazzles
your eyes, flying close enough you could catch it with your tongue
if it hadn’t darted away at the last second,
teasing and buzzing happily, a child of summer
borne by the evening breeze,
unfazed even when the raindrops big as knuckles
start to fall from the pregnant clouds above.
Sparks flashing briefly with life before the rain washes them out,
an Old Testament flood to their little bug lives,
thunder a shockwave rippling out from the blackness of their universe,
blasting them from the sky so they lie
shivering in the cold marsh,
like the angels cast out of Heaven
languishing in Hell, their lights dying.
We strip off our soaking clothes –
hand-me-down T-shirts and tattered jeans, our shoelaces knotted together –
and we dance with wild abandon, naked as witches,
the wetness clinging to our skin
unblemished and perfect in the dark,
except when lightning illumines our scrawny bodies,
gangly limbs and limp, sopping hair;
but Eve’s shame isn’t yours, nor Adam’s mine.
In the first shower of that first summer’s night,
when we laid down in the mud,
I can’t help but think
of the fireflies – hundreds of their
twitching corpses –
tossed in the muck like croutons in an earthy dressing,
squished beneath us,
lost to the world.

1 comment:

  1. I love this! For real, this may end up framed on a wall in my house one day.