There’s a firefly in the house.
I tried to catch him
and return him to the long grass
of the unmown lawn,
but he slipped through my fingers and hid
somewhere in the curtains
or the pile of unsorted mail. Without your
summer visit, I’ve felt no
reason to clean the house. Dust
and unread books
and half-finished knitting projects accrue
everywhere. Even in a good year,
it was too long between hugs, too long
without the solid
realness of us all talking at once over dessert.
It’s the plot of an old
sentimental novel now, that I stay away
to protect you, that neglect
is the nature of my love. Why even leave the house
anymore? Why indulge in these poor,
thin substitutes? Synchronized loneliness,
together in real-time, not
even the methadone of missing you. Not,
perhaps, better than nothing at all.
I’d like to return to my lost firefly as though
he could carry
the weight of this for us, provide some helpful
metaphor, but what could I intuit
except that when he chose to stay inside,
he chose to die?
Unhelpful even obliquely. After we speak
through the screen,
I’ll go look for him again.