I’ve never seen a glowworm
but as a boy I trapped jarfuls
of fireflies to serve
as nightlights in my bedroom.
Even when I threw in a handful of grass,
assuming that’s what they ate,
they’d never last the night.

I don’t see many lightning bugs
these days— never heard my grandchildren
squeal in the sinking twilight—
hunting the chartreuse glow of insects
trying to get laid.

Soon the night will only be lit by stars,
to our shame. We humans have shone so brightly,
for so long, it’s past time for us to fade.

(For Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt.)

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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10 Responses to Luminescence

  1. JeanMarie says:

    Speaking of past time to fade, I watched Deep Impact this afternoon. Nothing like a good ‘almost end of the world’ disaster movie to make you appreciate the present.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harley Reborn says:

    Do you have grandchildren? Did I know this!?

    Great piece wizard of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this poem. The contrast of the seemingly innocent childhood memories to the twist with that dark, gut-punch of an ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cassa Bassa says:

    I can relate. Lovely memory of youth.

    Liked by 1 person

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