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