A Poem

July 4, 2021

Fireworks at Summerfest Milwaukee, 2008. Photo by Dori, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 us.
Gunpowder vexes the night
in booms and bangs
to celebrate our Independence
and a little something troubles my bare arm
as I recline in the warm evening.
I look down, perchance to swat away
the affrontive mosquito—but no,
it is a larger bug, with long, dark wings,
almost a rectangle:

And I ask it “Can you light up?” 
And, as it flies away, it does.
A lightning bug!
Lightning bug. Photo by terry priest, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0.
As a boy in the flatlands of Illinois
I chased them by the hundreds, 
catching them in my hands
and sequestering them in glass jars
with holes poked in the lid
so they could breathe.
We were not so callous
as to kill them by suffocation. 
We would only imprison them overnight
and release them the next day
if we remembered—our innocence
exceeded only by our youth.

Here in this boreal clime
where I am resolved to age in place,
we do not see so many lightning bugs.
Still, they are with us
and more than welcome
as we pass our summer evenings
in contemplation of
how far we have traveled.


Larry F. Sommers, Your New Favorite Writer

Price of Passage

Norwegian Farmers and Fugitive Slaves in Pre-Civil War Illinois

(History is not what you thought!)

2 thoughts on “A Poem

  1. Nice poem – did not know you were still writing poetry.


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