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January 2016 vol 11 no 4

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Doris Lynch

The Last of the Summer Lights


October in Slade, Kentucky, and I watch one of the year’s final nights of firefly frolic. By the Middle Fork of the Red River, a line of females fans light over the campground grass. Not a single male circles above.

Every time I wake, I gaze outside my tent and watch dozens of lights in the grass glow on and off without syncopation or pattern. No stars appear this cloudy night, just these tiny light-pools shimmering on the forest floor.

All night, steady in their dotage, the females mark their favorite trysting places, puddley beds.

future graves . . .
stars glimmer
on the earth’s surface


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