Poem by Julie Cadwallander-Staub

 The air vibrated

with the sound of cicadas

on those hot Missouri nights after sundown

when the grown-ups gathered on the wide back lawn,

sank into their slung-back canvas chairs

tall glasses of iced tea beading in the heat

 and we sisters chased fireflies

reaching for them in the dark

admiring their compact black bodies

their orange stripes and seeking antennas

as they crawled to our fingertips

and clicked open into the night air.

In all the days and years that have followed,

I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced

the same utter certainty of the goodness of life

that was as palpable

as the sound of the cicadas on those nights:

my sisters running around with me in the dark,

the murmur of the grown-ups’ voices,

the way reverence mixes with amazement

to see such a small body

emit so much light. 

Photo: “Fireflies at Night” by Sierra, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED