The stars are reflected in the grass tonight, as fireflies refuse to fly anymore. They lay about in the thick brush, a flickering blanket answering the twinkle from on high. Do they act like this on long summer evenings? How could they? Kids would scoop them up by the million! Jar them, squish them, write their initials with glowing firefly goop on their arms. Boy kids chasing girl kids squealing with glossy boogers of firefly goop. No, they wouldn't lay about like this in the summer. But now they seem tired, these flies. These non-flies. These fire layabouts. It's September after all. Dark at eight thirty, kids busy with their homework, staring at their screens. It's safe to lay in the weeds, done with the darting and flying exerting minimum effort. If a firefly's flicker is meant To draw a mate, these lazy bums should go home alone. © TDR - 2020
The heat even stifles the birds-
In no hurry to begin their morning chatter.
There are more nests than usual this year
But fewer eggs.
Fewer hopping fledglings.
Maybe it’s the full moon gliding across the sky
Wearing Jupiter like a hat and filling the valley with
A gauzy glow.
I’ll have no problem seeing the deer if she trespasses
Into the garden again.
The rocks-chosen carefully for size and weight
Line the table beside the steaming coffee cup.
Best to drink it now, it will be too hot once the sun rises.
There was a time when a plundering doe would have left
Here on her last gallop spurting crimson where the arrow had pierced her.
Hard to remember such things with St. Francis smiling
Benignly in the moonshine under the grapes.
But still, a solid rock to the ribs will serve as notice to
Go and eat someone else’s tomatoes.
They are tireless, though in their labors,
Building frantically as if a new nest, near the old one,
Will make their eggs viable.
They couple and squawk and dive and scree, not understanding
Why none of it works anymore.
Up on the back street Rudy’s truck slips quietly into
It’s spot under the mulberry.
He must be back at work.
She froze near the bottom of the stairs
Startled by the form
In the window beside the front door.
Some other worldly wraith-white and shaved-stared,
Nothing to break the pale but the dark nipples against her milky skin.
The tiny breasts lifted and fell with her breathing.
Below a dark mane, button eyes sewn onto a doll’s face
Searched for something that wasn’t there.
Her lean legs wavy, her flat stomach nothing but a creamy smudge,
Her face, nondescript from here.
She looked away from the reflection.
It wasn’t her at all.
The sun has only just
Sunken below the ridge
When the little screech owl
(poorly named as it doesn’t screech at all)
Begins its falsetto trill
Announcing that the sun is gone;
The night games can begin.
He’s upstream-due west
Perhaps in the big sycamore.
No bigger than my fist, invisible in the gloaming
That’s fine-I don’t need to see him to
Know what he’s saying.
The evening rooster trilling the eagle home
From the hunt.
Calling the tree frogs out to sing.
The snakes have gone to ground.
Raccoons and possums shake off the days’ slumber.
Finches and towhees give way to swallows dipping and diving
After mayflies and skeeters.
Then the bats join the dance-flickering blindly in
Four directions at once.
Bull frogs thump, thump in the weeds while
Big bass-hearing and hunting-patrol the shallows under dusk’s cover.
Coyotes yip and bobcats cough and deer are free to
Roam the fields.
Venus has just risen in the pearl gray sky when
An otter snags a catfish and curls on a rock to feast.
The trilling says it’s our time now.
Stars awaken and the
We’ll fill your dreams, it says, with the music of the ages.
© TDR 2019