Cold Light
by Elizabeth Dickhut

At dusk, fireflies emerge from the fields
to begin their evening ritual
of searching for a mate.

Flashing their cold light
above the tall grass, their abdomens
flicker like Chinese lanterns.

We watch them glow
against the gray-black shadows of the farm
and stretch ourselves

side by side in the grass.
Our glass jars rest at our feet, ready
to hold tonight's collection of fireflies.

We spent the afternoon hammering holes
into metal lids and gathering tufts
of soft grass and small twigs to fill our jars.

But now all we can do is watch them dance
above our heads, their small bodies flashing
to the familiar rhythm of longing.

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