She put the youngest, the one

who remained at home that night,

to bed, and then, I remember, we walked outside

and together climbed the ladder on the boys’ treehouse,

a kind of deck nailed to the tree, and stood there

our own arms wrapped only around ourselves,

and watched the fireflies blink on and off

over the field. What was growing there? Wheat?

Corn. Who cares. I wanted to take her

in my arms then, though I didn’t,

and as we watched the dark and the lightning

bugs’ weak bulbs glowing she said

in another two days these little lights

won’t even be here. They’re like you.

They’re going to disappear.

Steve Henn wrote Guilty Prayer (Main Street Rag 2021), Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year (Wolfson 2017), and two previous books from NYQ Books. Find out more at