The Master of Fireflies

By Mary Atkinson


My brother says he’s the master of fireflies

He tells me to crouch down and stay still

You’re not supposed to chase fireflies, he says

You’re supposed to wait until they light up right next to you

Then you hold your breath

and scoop them in a jar

One two three


I say I’m the master of fireflies

I run across the lawn and hide behind a tree

Any firefly passes by, blinking in the night,

my arm shoots out faster than lightning

I snatch that firefly right out of the air

and put him in my jar

just like that


My brother sits in the high grass

getting bitten by mosquitoes

getting the seat of his pants wet

scooping up his fireflies

one two three


I run through the night

I jump out of bushes

I tell those fireflies come-on-out-wherever-you-are

I block their twinkling escape

into the night sky


My jar becomes a shimmering lantern

My brother’s: a lost star on earth


My brother and I look at each other

at my lantern and his lost star


We say, fireflies have no masters!

We open our jars

and let the fireflies go

Fireflies light up the night

one two three

just like that

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