Hour 9 — Strange Firefly

Beth A. Fleisher

Hour 9


Prompt 9:  Write a poem containing at least five of the following ten words. If you want it can include all ten words. If this prompt seems at all familiar, it is probably because we do it every year, just with different words. XFirefly. XBottle. XMask. XPorridge. XZoom. XLethargy. XTreeline. XHeat. XStrange. XCottage


Strange Firefly


Pandemic, Day 146

I’ve been at my Grandmother’s cottage

since Day 1. What started as a weekend visit

has become a trudge of endless days.

At least I don’t have to worry about wearing

a mask here, like I see all my friends doing on Zoom.

Grandma Jeannie lives by herself on a small

private island off the coast of Washington state.

Her A-frame cottage stands in a small, natural meadow,

surrounded by a treeline of old growth Douglas fir.


Contact with the outside world is limited to

the red dinghy that arrives the first week

of every month with her supplies.

I normally love being here, but today, lethargy

overtook my normal good spirits.

Surprising, because it was Supply Day,

and Grandma had ordered two giant pizzas

from town, one Classic Pepperoni,

the other, a Meat Lovers Special, both my faves.

But to me, it might as well have been

tasteless porridge.

After trying to get me to eat, with no success,

even Grandma Jeannie was done with

my “lazy yellow dog” attitude.


“Here,” she said, handing me a large glass bottle

with a pointed top, “Go catch some fireflies.”

I looked into her snappy brown eyes.

She didn’t look crazy, but who knew?

She held the bottle out to me, shaking it insistently,

and I reluctantly took it. And almost dropped it

because of the heat radiating from the glass to my fingers.

Whoa, what the..?

After a second, the heat diminished to a comforting

warmth, and I went outside.


I knew what fireflies were and what they looked like.

Hadn’t I been coming here my whole life? But I’d never

tried to actually catch any until tonight. When we were kids,

my brother Bob did that, but not me. I thought it was dumb.

I sighed deeply. I knew Grandma Jeannie well enough to know

I couldn’t go back until I had caught at least one firefly.


There were dozens dancing through the air, blinking on and off,

putting on quite a light show. Should be easy, I thought.

Then I saw this one totally strange firefly. And I mean strange!

It was probably three times bigger than any of the others,

and it separated from the bunch? Flock? Whatever… and

flew right up to me. It lit on the very top of the bottle,

bright green light flashing on and off, wings folded.

Why hadn’t I taken the top off the bottle?

The strange, green firefly looked at me … winked, and smiled.

That’s when I knew that life was about to get

much more interesting at Grandma Jeannie’s cottage.


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