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At War With the Fireflies: A Poem

Veronica has poetry and short stories published in several literary journals. She holds an MA in Literature from American University.

Photo by Mike Lewinski [CC BY 2.0]

Photo by Mike Lewinski [CC BY 2.0]

At War With the Fireflies

stay with me
in the dark

watch the fireflies glow

their gentle light
reminds you of magic

and the mysteries of life

and me
of aliens

one lands
and I smear it with my foot

on the cracked sidewalk

its green-yellow guts
streak across the concrete

Next door

Tommy and Mary
smack the fireflies

with whiffle ball bats

and we all laugh
while you cry

because their light is ours

to manipulate and twist
in our sweaty fingers

crumbling light into

nothing

we feel

nothing

except the elusiveness of
awe

Afterword

"At War With the Fireflies" is a part of a series of secular poetry I wrote when I became a born-again Christian in the summer of 2016.

I've always gravitated towards "dark" writing that doesn't quite cross into Horror, and as a Christian I've become even more fascinated by the battle between light (good) and darkness (evil). The only difference is that, now, the "darkness" frustrates me rather than fascinates me. There is no hope there.

In this poem, I have been both the speaker that feels nothing and the "you" that feels too much. As a child, I would often get mad at the kids that killed bugs and worms for fun, and felt it was my duty to look after helpless insects. As I grew into an adult, I had an increasingly hard time caring about anything, and longed for that sense of empathy and awe I'd often felt as a child. I thought it was something I'd lost forever until Jesus Christ drew me into his loving arms.

This poem is the first in my chapbook of the same name, At War With the Fireflies.

© 2020 Veronica McDonald

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