The first time I saw fireflies
my eyes were scratched with flecks
of dust I tried to blink away.
Did early impressions of the galaxies
seem to stargazers also a mistake?
I watched the trails the insects left
in a blink of light, a shooting star
I could grasp and hold tight
until the light went out, then discard it.
Witnessing my wonder, James spoke
of being woken by flashing in the night,
fire stealing inside his window.
Visions came to me in this way,
in the dress I wore of long tulle
Winter’s mom called “luna moth.”
We sat inside the Foxhead, Winter
and me, above us grinning taxidermy,
one of my last nights in Iowa City.
Upon graduating from poetry school,
—a mostly made-up degree—
we held certificates with no name
and watched a green-winged moth
flittering at the street lamp. It was
drawn to its light as we were,
its movements becoming violent,
gesticulations bringing it as close
to the lamp as it dared. Time
fizzled away. We moved home,
Nathan held my body, made me squirm.
I closed my eyes and heard wings.
A moth flew above us, flicked
itself against the lamp, and fell
against the wall. I folded there.