Another Poem About Fireflies by David P. Miller

Another Poem About Fireflies

We say “listen to the wind in the trees”
but that is not the sound. What is the sound
of a leaf moving? How many leaves
in these after-dark silhouettes framed
by highway horizon glow? I came to the porch
because I heard a gentle rainfall
but it was not water mist against leaves.
It was leaves against the movement of air.
We cannot hear air, cannot hear one
two three leaves change position.
But this, sounding of indrawn breath
and tide drawn back across black
volcanic pebbles, this we can hear.

I came to the covered porch to be misted
this July dusk but there was not mist.
There were pulsing tree trunks. There were events
at the edges of my eyesight, and when I looked
they were bugs. Then there were more events
that when I looked again became lights.
I don’t remember when I last saw
fireflies, and I don’t know if I will ever
see them again. So stark, their white-yellow signals
pull from deep in the yard across the street,
and down the street. Each its own light-
point cycle, so many aerial lighthouses.
Flash cycle nebula densing the more
the more I abandon eye focus. This erratic
point cloud beneath tides of treetops,
and me in the fade to black, secure
in my simple irrelevance to all of it.

by David P. Miller

Editor’s Note: This poem seems simple at first, as the narrator details his observations, but as the imagery repeats and twists into itself, the poem spirals into a more astronomical philosophy than is immediately obvious.

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