“The charismatic firefly faces extinction.”
Late-arriving guest of dusky backyard barbecues,
she turned heads, then—
darting in and out the arborvitae hedgerow
(thinning in places, but still more hedge than gap) and now
she’s back to grabbing headlines
“Her flashing abdomen attracts and signals suitors.”
Not suitors, always, but fat-fisted children
jamming leaves into jelly jars “for food”
I remember the weight of my own dimpled jar,
The tick-kick of fluttering wings on glass.
I knew (and she knew) the meaning of endangered then.
Who will believe this winged-dinosaur emitted her own light?
Who will believe she once took flight?
(The author does not specify some species do not fly.)
“Light pollution” is all he says:
sex signals out of sync.
I stop to mourn the passing of the charismatic
soft-bodied beetle of summer,
victim of ambient light—
click shut the page
and lie beside my husband in the pitch black,