‘Made Light’, Melissa Moorer

Illustrations © 2014 Eric Asaris

All that light and no heat, it couldn’t be real. It just wasn’t possible. It was a fairy tale. Wasn’t it?

 [ Lightning bug, © 2014 Eric Asaris ] I don’t have a father. Mine was a virgin birth, but not in a Jesus Christ kind of way. There were no angels and no trumpets and I am not a boy. God doesn’t speak to me, but sometimes the stars do. Mom says it’s because we’re related (me and the stars), but I am not convinced. When I ask about my father, she laughs and says he was a lightning bug.

“I’m serious. I swallowed a lightning bug and nine months later,” she motions dramatically toward me, the living proof of her immaculate conception. “You.” When I respond with a suspicious stare, she huffs back into her lawn chair and goes back to snapping beans. “Ask your Gran if you don’t believe me.”

My grandmother just rolls her eyes and exhales a loud “Hmph,” but she doesn’t say no. She shakes her head, but she has never said it didn’t happen that way. And she would if she could.

I believed this explanation when I was little and didn’t know any better. Lying awake at night, I imagined I would someday be able to fly, my fairy father arriving in a swirl of color and light to whisk me away to the glittery firefly world or fairy kingdom. But he didn’t and I don’t—have any magical abilities.

Anyway, I know now how babies are made and that fairies don’t exist. I bring home biology books to prove it to my mother: you can’t get pregnant by swallowing anything, it just doesn’t work that way. I lay the book on the table between us open to full-color illustrations that look like some strange underworld map. See, stomach and uterus—totally unconnected. No highway from the red state of the stomach to the pink sea of the uterus, not even the dotted lines of a gravel road.

“When you were learning to walk we had to tie a string to your ankle so you couldn’t fly away,” is her answer.

“Whatever,” I say. “Then why don’t I float away now?”

She points to my feet and the heavy black corrective shoes I have had to wear as long as I can remember. “The shoes.”

“Remember when you were six and you fell in love with the light in the pantry?” My face burns with shame before she reaches the end of the sentence. Memories of lying curled under the burning beautiful glow all night. I tried to stay in my bed, but the light sang to me, drawing me out of my room to lie on the cold hard floor as it lulled me to sleep with its bright, sweet voice. They finally had the fixture replaced and I was inconsolable for weeks.

But I am too old for that now. Too old to believe their stupid stories about firefly fathers and invisible wings in my back. I went through her things years ago searching for my real father: an old photo with a note on the back, a sperm bank receipt, a love letter. Because in the real world I am the bastard child of some sweaty fumbling in the backseat of a Chevy Nova or worse, the shameful offspring of a rape or some twisted first cousin star-crossed love affair. They may choose to live in that fantasy world of fireflies and fairies, but I have to go to school every day at Fayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky. I have to live in the terrible real world, so I quietly collect the facts I need to end the fairy tale.

1. Fireflies aren’t really flies. They are beetles. The glow is caused by an efficient chemical reaction in the guts of the insect that creates luminescence and almost no waste heat.

The smug fluorescent lights in the cafeteria hum and wink at me, probably because my few friends have second lunch and the lights know I have no one else to sit with but them. The other students don’t notice their constant muttering about my shoes or hair or whatever else they can see from up there. I eat my lunch outside when it’s warm enough, so that I don’t have to hear their condescending ramblings, but it’s raining today so I look for a table toward the edges and find one under a dim and erratically blinking tube of light. One of the bulbs is dying a long, slow death, which has caused the nearby bulbs to go desperately silent. I slide into the faint outline of an unoccupied seat and concentrate on my lunch.

That’s what brings her to me, I guess: the shadowy table and the girl in near dark. She has black black hair, thick eyeliner and dark clothes, some kind of glittery powder all over her face. That’s all I can absorb in one cursory glance. Enough to know that I don’t recognize her. She must be new here. That would explain the confusion. There is no other reason to sit at this twilight table with me. She will know soon enough what I am, so I ignore her attempts at conversation and pretend to read despite the mumbled blinkings of the desperate and dying light bulb above us.

Three weeks later she is still sitting with me under the flickering fluorescent. “Look, I’m not into Nine Inch Nails or Slipknot anything,” I blurt out. She continues reading for a few seconds before resting the paperback copy of Wuthering Heights face down on the plastic surface of the table.

“Okay,” she says, drawing out the syllables in a slow sing-song. Her forehead wrinkles in confusion. “Neither am I.” Sure that she will pick up her tray and leave me alone finally, I return to my book. “Well, what are you into then? You know, since we’ve established what you’re not into.”

I say “Sleater-Kinney,” a band I’m sure she hasn’t heard of hoping to end this conversation, but she smiles. Her eyebrows rise and peak as she picks up her notebook carefully, bringing its scarred, grafittied surface between us. It takes me a moment, but my eyes finally focus on the familiar lyrics scratched out in ball point.

I wanna be your Thurston Moore
Wrestle on your bedroom floor

“Oh,” is the only response I can manage. As she removes the notebook I notice a swirl of color and design sneaking out from under her long-sleeved shirt. A tattoo. Probably some kind of fairy thing or maybe even a riot grrl symbol. Yes, that’s it. She’s probably some kind of rabid vegan, rebel grrl, hipster punk wannabe who spends all of her time collecting obscure albums on vinyl and boycotting Starbucks.

I glance at her tray looking for any signs of dogmatic dietary restrictions. There is no meat, but plenty of brand names: two Cokes, Reese’s, Skittles and a couple of bags of Doritos. This in a school full of anorexic girls. A normal lunch for someone who looks like her is a Diet Coke and a bag of carrot sticks.

“Carrie Brownstein’s new band is playing in Cincinnati on Friday. Wanna go?” Stunned by the invitation and the contents of her tray I nod my head automatically then realize what I have agreed to. Not just the concert with this girl I don’t know, but a total of three hours travel time alone with her.

“We probably can’t get tickets now anyway,” I say, hoping she will use this opportunity to take it all back.

She just shrugs. “Sure we can. I’ll charge them on my Dad’s credit card. You can pay me back.”

I always thought my name, Greta, was the one thing my mother gave me that was mine. Such a sturdy, solid name. A name for movie stars and soccer players, not pale fatherless freaks. Greta was a name I could aspire to. Grow into. Until today. We had to research names and their meanings for English class and that’s how I found out. The hard way. Greta means ‘child of light’. Even my name isn’t real. Part of Mom’s firefly fantasy life.

I was so angry, I walked right past Mom and Gran when I got home from school and refused to eat the homemade macaroni and cheese with tomato slices on top I know Mom made just for me. It’s like she has a sixth sense for when I’ll be angry and does exactly the wrong thing.

I decide not to leave my room until morning and spend the night going through my ‘Dad box’ again sifting through the evidence I’ve found of possible fathers scattered through my mother’s things. The most likely candidate is just s a faded yearbook photo with a note written in jagged ball point. “Always, Glenn,” is all it says, but he looks like a potential father. His hair is white blonde like mine and he is so pale his face bleeds into the page leaving only faint outline and dark eyes. I’ve already established that he lives in Cincinnati and that he works for some big corporation. He’s like the ideal normal Dad. His wife even has a blog with recipes and jokes and photos of what could be my half sister and brother. I try not to check it for updates more than once a week. He’s probably not even my real father and it feels kind of stalkerish, but I can’t seem to help it. Can’t help smiling along with the ridiculously happy toddlers smiling from their ridiculously perfect life that should be mine too.

It’s been less than a week but I check the blog again. It still hasn’t updated. It’s been nearly two months with no update. Maybe something happened, something terrible. Maybe one of the kids needs a bone marrow transplant and I will be the only match and save them. Or maybe they are at Disneyworld or on a camping trip or one of the ten thousand things normal families do. I sit near the phone for a while and consider calling the number for the millionth time, but what would I say?

2. The glow acts as a warning to potential predators that fireflies are poisonous. The chemicals that create the eerie glow also make them deadly.

According to the blue jays in the backyard, they taste pretty awful too.

My grandmother’s room is small and crammed with books and figurines. It smells like cigarettes and cheap rose soap, but I like to lie on her always-made bed and look up at the stained ceiling while she smokes and knits and occasionally tells a family story. It is one of the only safe places in the house, like she and my mother divided up the house years ago and declared this a separate country. There are battles at the borders, but never inside.

Every time she lights up a cigarette she says,

“Don’t let me ever catch you smoking. I’ll wear you out if I even smell cigarette smoke on you. I don’t care how old you are.”

I don’t even bother answering anymore, just close one eye so the larger coffee-colored stain near the right angle of the wall looks like an elephant’s head.

“So you’re going to this concert with a girl?”

“Yeah, her name’s Miranda,” I respond absently, wondering again what I will wear.

“So. Tell me something about her.”

“Like what?”

She sighs a little and begins a new row of gray knots. “Like does she have a last name? What do her parents do? That kind of thing.”

“I don’t know.” I shrug and hear her grind the cigarette against the cracked china saucer she uses as an ashtray.

“Well you must know something,” she says and there is the blackboard squeak of yarn against teeth.

A lawnmower starts up just outside the window and I hear the irritable clatter of my mother doing dishes in the kitchen. I try to stay very still hoping my grandmother will let me just lie here quietly for a few minutes.

“I hope she’s a good one, ’cause you need a friend,” she says and her accent softens even more, all the vowels going long. “You’re in a rut baby girl and a rut ain’t nothing but a long grave.”

I have no idea what she means, but it is the kind of thing she says to my mother to put a stop to all the talking, so I smile up at the elephant and close my eyes.

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who lived in a castle and all of that stuff. Only, she wasn’t like other princesses, she was shy and bookish and kept to herself. Even though everyone at court wanted to be her friend, get on her good side, she wouldn’t have any of it. She saw ‘em for what they were. A bunch of fakes.”

I recognize it immediately as The Firefly Princess. She hasn’t told me this one in years. When I was thirteen I decided I had outgrown it, outgrown all of them: The Dragonfly Guy, The Rise and Fall of Spider King, and The Superbright Adventures of the Flutterby Girl. They are all ridiculous stories for gullible kids.

“Except for this one girl, a lady in waiting who was just as shy and bookish as she was. Those two took up like peas in a pod. Spent all their time together. Even had this secret code with lanterns to talk to each other at night from their bedroom windows. They’d meet up in the gardens and study the moon and the stars and talk about books. But you see, the rest of the court wanted the princess all to themselves so they had her poor friend kidnapped. Even used their secret lantern language to trap her. And they had her taken off someplace on the other side of the forest so the princess would be all alone and need them again.”

She’s changing something in the story, I’m almost positive, but it’s sleepy warm in the room and I can’t remember.

“‘Course when the princess found out she got all bent out of shape. Wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep.”

There is the metal snap and sizzle of her Zippo and her voice gets tighter around the smoke.

“So her daddy called in the old witch woman and she locked herself in with the poor princess for two whole days and nights.” The clicking of the knitting needles stops and I hear the gravelly hiss as she pulls on the cigarette. “All kinds of strange sounds and smells were coming out of that room, but nobody dared bother that old witch. Finally at dawn of the third day the witch walks out smiling and the king rushes in to see his daughter, but she’s not there. The old woman tells him to go to the window and he sees her out there flying around with her black cape flapping out behind like wings and that lantern blinking on and off. You see she’d gone out looking for that poor girl and she still is every night. That’s what all those fireflies are doing—helping that poor princess find her true friend with their lanterns and capes.”

The smoke curls and winds around itself circling the smug little light above her bed and I wonder what the moral of this story is supposed to be. Fairy tales are supposed to have a point.

“What’s the moral of the story, Gran?”

There is a long silence and another inhale like dry leaves blowing in fall before the knitting needles restart their cricket clicks. “The world’s a jealous place, baby girl. Always trying to tell you it’s one way when it’s another, so you watch out.”

Squinting, I turn to make sure she isn’t laughing at me, but her attention is focused on the gray sweater she has been working on all week. Closing one eye, she stretches it, tilting her head to the side to examine the fine net of her work.

“But shouldn’t there be a prince? Or a happy ending or something?”

“Then it wouldn’t be the truth now would it?”

I have tried on everything in my room, which wouldn’t seem strange if all of it wasn’t gray or black and virtually identical. A tentative knock and I get angry immediately, a Pavlovian response. And I’m even angrier that Mom can make me feel something so strong without any effort. I want to feel nothing around her, just numb. I want to walk through this house like a soulless thing, a zombie, so she understands how dead I am. What they have taken away from me with their stories and lies.

“What?” I ask, unsuccessfully trying to hide the angry embarrassment. My mother takes a tentative step inside and frowns at the clothes strewn everywhere.

“I hope you’re going to clean all of this up before you go,” she says and then frowns harder like she didn’t mean to say it. It’s the same frown she uses when I’ve said or done something she finds distasteful.

“What do you want?”

Her head snaps back slightly at the tone of my voice and her shoulders square, but she doesn’t say anything, just hands me a folded bill. A hundred. I try not to look surprised, afraid that she will take it back. We’ve never done this before—I’ve never gone out and she’s never had to give me money for anything but lunch and my meager allowance – so she has no idea how much money to give me. Obviously.

I stuff it in my pocket and mutter my thanks before she can reconsider.

A tight smile and she turns to leave, but pauses on the threshold. “You should wear a sweater too. In case it gets cold.” She points at the pile on the bed. “The gray one.” They’re all gray. “With the pink buttons.” Gran sewed them on for me and I never wear it because it seems wrong, all of that color in the middle of so much same.

I don’t say anything and she leaves still frowning, but not at me.

“There’s a big black truck out here, baby girl. I think it’s your friend,” I hear Gran’s voice downstairs. Smiling nervously, I grab the sweater with the pink buttons on my way out.

I’m halfway to the black SUV when I finally remember to be angry.

The trip to the concert is awkward quiet. I can’t think of anything to talk about, so I stay silent and she concentrates on the road. The floor is at least four inches deep in old soda cans, candy wrappers and shopping bags—a garbage can bird’s nest at my feet. Every time I move, the rustling seems deafening, so I don’t. But my legs are going numb and the silence is ballooning between us.

“That’s weird,” she squints sharply ahead and I shift my weight, stirring up the litter. “The street lights keep going out.” Sitting back again she makes a face and smiles, the light glimmering and whispering conspiratorially off her teeth and that powder she always wears.

“Oh, really?” The lights for half a block around our house have turned off and on as long as I can remember. Street lights burn cold and long in a humming monotone. No periods, commas, or breaths taken, except for the sun. When the sun rises they grumble their way into mean silence. Street lights don’t speak the way other lights do and they play games, probably to pass the time. When I was little, I thought that they did this for everyone, humming in that distracting way and lighting up only behind, never ahead, making the future a dark place you have to feel your way into. Until I found the flashlight in the back of the junk drawer in the garage and could light my own way. The old kind, chrome and glass with a hard button for morse code signals.

I tried in the beginning to learn morse code, but it was dull and the flashlight made fun of me, sneering through the clumsy stutter of dashes and dots. I finally made up my own rhythms, like songs, that seemed to please the ancient yellowing bulb that always took a few seconds to warm up.

One of the taillights on the car ahead of us winks at me and I start to sweat, sinking further into the giant leather seat. I click the cold metal button in the familiar pattern until hear the incongruous high-pitched giggle of the flashlight.

“Yep. Creepy cool,” she raises her eyebrows at me and smiles louder, like I didn’t hear the first one.

3. The blinking light is a complex mating signal. A language. Each species of firefly has its own pattern to attract others of its own kind.

 [ Blinking light, © 2014 Eric Asaris ] The concert is already in motion by the time we arrive, everyone in their hipster best clogging the front door so I hang back wishing I hadn’t come. She grabs my hand and drags me through the crowd to an enormous bald guy with multiple piercings and we are suddenly inside.

An unfamiliar band plays up front and I look away quickly from the sexy reds and blues of the stage lights to find her watching me with a quizzical look.

“Want a drink?” she mouths and I notice the noise, nodding as she takes my hand again. I swallow down the overwhelming desire to pull away. No one touches me. Ever. Not even with their eyes.

On the way to the underage bar she pauses and I pull away before she can. The room goes silent just as she is mobbed by a group of squealing, unfamiliar girls who must be her Cincinnati friends.

My arms are crossed now and I am conscious of the weight of my shoes, my feet sliding around in the too-big space of them. There is the pull of an arm around my shoulder and I am introduced in shy waves and exuberant smiles. I’m not quite sure what to do, so I don’t do anything, just stand there waiting for that look of disgust, but it doesn’t come. We are moving as a group toward the back of the club and there are a lot of questions about our high school and Lexington. Someone hands me a flask and I take a drink that is sour heat all the way down.

“What the fuck is this?” Miranda asks, horrified, after taking a drink.

“I don’t know.” A girl with stringy pink hair and suspenders named Chelsea shrugs. “I just poured a little out of all the bottles in the liquor cabinet so they wouldn’t notice.”

“Ew.” They all make gagging noises and laugh as they tip the flask up one by one before handing it again to me. Another drink and it doesn’t taste quite as bad. Miranda makes a face and smiles, handing me her soda to cover the burn in cold and sweet.

Another shot of toxic heat from the flask and the concert fades into a blur of lights and the bump and pressure of strangers and new friends dancing around and against me. It smells like perfume and cigarettes and I smile thinking of Gran’s room, but there is something more complicated behind it: beer, sweat and something else that should be familiar but isn’t.

I don’t remember making my way to the front, but I am there, pinned between the bodies before and behind, Miranda screaming beside. A silence in the lights and music and the flask hits my lips again. There is a faint warning wail from the dim bulb over the exit, but I ignore it.

The lights smear themselves all over me and faces bob above and around, eyeliner smudged in furry lines except hers. They stay perfect, like her eyes were drawn on years ago in permanent marker, mirroring the designs on her sleeves. The sweat smell is stronger and the crowd nudges and pushes me, but her hand is cold and direct, leading me into the soothing quiet cool of the back exit.

The alley is all dark quiet leading to the shouting explosion of the well-lit parking lot. I cover my ears and fall against the car and out of Miranda’s grasp. She laughs and there are other cars teasing around us.

Then lights ahead, red and white, winking and Miranda slips something cold into my hand, the chrome of that small flashlight I am almost sure, but it’s just a bottle.

“Here. Drink.”

Water. The light bends through the lens of it, distorting her smile as I use it to stop the burning in my throat and stomach. I’m drunk, I realize with terrified amusement. I’m drunk with a girl I barely know a hundred miles from home. Maybe she isn’t smiling, maybe it’s just the bending of the light. Lowering the bottle I see that she is holding the steering wheel, staring ahead with great concentration, but the pink and black-clothed bodies of her friends are draped over the hood of the giant black SUV.

“We’re in the park, near your Dad’s house,” she says with a smile so bright, I can’t help but reflect it.

“I don’t have a Dad.”

Her eyebrows tip precariously over her eyes, her head tilting slightly.

“Oh. Okay,” she says. “But you said he lives on Spruce.”

My head starts nodding before I really understand, until the web sites and maps flash in my mind. Spruce Street. Always, Glenn written in ballpoint. Paper-colored Glenn, my most possible father.

“Oh, yeah,” I mumble trying to remember talking about him to her or anyone.

“We could go say hi,” she says, motioning toward the green Spruce Street sign nearby. But the driver’s side door opens with squeals and before I can answer, she is pulled laughing into the dark. The stereo jumps to life and I feel the car give way as I fall into the giggling arms of her friends who are shouting the words to whatever is playing.

They all tell stories about people I don’t know and I try to smile and laugh in the right places, but it hurts my face like when we have to go to my Uncle Gary’s house. There are so many people and terms I don’t know. Maybe it’s the alcohol, but they keep referring to people as ‘moths’ and ‘grubs’ in condescending tones. Probably, they are saying ‘goths’ and ‘chubs’, but I am too drunk and tired to sort it out.

Miranda keeps looking at me through the moving silhouettes, black hair illuminated by the angry glow of cigarettes and the occasional lighter. Her smile when our eyes meet changes and I wish I was like them and could understand. Or at least if I was closer, the dim light of her smile might give something away.

The shoes are starting to hurt my feet, too much time standing in them, so I step back and lean against the still-warm hood of her car, looking up at the stars that blink bored, too old and important to be impressed by a bunch of drunk punk girls in the middle of the night. They are burning super hot somewhere billions of years ago, I remind myself, even if they are shivering and chattering ice cold over us.

Turning my cheek to the slowly cooling metal of the hood I see the reflective letters of Spruce Street and slide down to the ground. My father. He would know about the science of stars and reproduction. He would do normal things like ground me for being out late and coming home drunk. Unlike my mother, he would tell the truth. There would be rules about how to behave and what was appropriate. That’s what being normal means.

The sidewalk sways and tilts under me and the night seems unnaturally bright, turning the street into a straight line as the house numbers get bigger and bigger climbing toward 1234. The street lights are a different kind of quiet tonight, a sort of black hole of silence like someone expecting an answer. For the first time I can remember, they don’t go out as I walk, they burn brighter. So bright I have to cover my eyes with one hand and I wonder what the game is now and why it has changed so suddenly.

His house isn’t any different than the other houses really. Nice car in the driveway, sculpted hedges and the walk is edged. I think of the weeds growing up around the front walk at home and get a little queasy. The flashlight would fix things, but the cold cylinder in my hoodie pocket is just a water bottle.

My head hurts and my shadow is thick black and small in all the light until with a last surge the street lights go suspiciously silent and dark. I stand there staring at the yellow squares of light from his house and the street light in front slowly brightens to a faint glow. It whispers something I can’t make out or maybe I don’t want to. I wobble to one of the windows and look inside where a man sits at a long table bent over papers and I can just make out the blue flicker of a TV in another room.

Stumbling back a few steps I look into the backyard, which is littered with the soft shapes of children’s playground structures, the kind that don’t break or leave splinters. They look kind of gray in the faint light of the backyard. Their sloping plastic lines pull at my stomach again and I take a swig from the cool bottle before stepping back to the window. I can just make out his face now, his graying head, glasses perched on a thin nose as he studies the pages in front of him. Maybe he’s a lawyer or an accountant. I should have checked.

The street is completely black now except for the dim street light in front of his house. I look back at his pale features and watch his pen scratch around on the paper without a sound. He is so close I could just tap on the window or knock on the front door and ask about her. About me. The thought of talking to him makes my stomach twist and burn. I bend over taking deep breaths to keep from throwing up.

I hear it before I even see it: the laughing phrases of my flashlight blinking in the dark past of the street.

“Hey.” Her hair shines black. I walk to meet her on the sidewalk and the final street light goes black. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

“How’d you…?” She clicks the flashlight off before I can finish the question and I can just make out a smile.

“You gave it to me in the parking lot for safe-keeping. Remember?” No. I don’t. “Did you see your Dad?”

I think of the man at the table and his perfectly normal house, of my mother, our scruff lopsided house, the crazy street lights, and Gran’s fairy tales. What would he think of his angry, unlikable daughter in the ugly shoes? How would I ever fit into a life so compact and carefully arranged where street lights behave and flashlights don’t speak? I’ve always imagined my world as small, limited to just Mom, me, and Gran and nothing else, but looking at the pale glow of the house that doesn’t even try to speak to the street lights, I feel enormous and full of light. Too bright for this nice house, this dead end street and its darkness, to contain.

“My mother swallowed a lightning bug and I was born nine months later,” I say and smile. The heat in my gut that was so painful before turns into something else, something fluttering.

She doesn’t laugh or tell me how drunk I am. She just stands there staring at me under all that dark. Something cool slips into my hand and I think at first it’s my flashlight, but it’s her hand leading me down the driveway to the back yard away from the conspiring street lights and the silent, suspicious house. Overhead, the stars are talking again, but I can’t make out what they’re saying over the powdery, glittery sheen of her skin that shines back at me like a smile. Like an unfinished sentence.

“What?” She strips her shirt off, the collar catching for a moment around her elbows and the powder is everywhere, spattered like starlight. Her skin is divided into grays outlined in black like the playground pieces standing in silhouette between us and the house. I remember the tattoos, the patterned sleeves, but these aren’t arranged like someone meant to design and mark her, they are giant blotches of what I know even in the dim are bright iridescent colors.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing.” Her voice is a soft bright and I can see that she is smiling now, a different sort of smile that flutters around her mouth like a candle flame.

“I um,” I say, but her fingers are working the pink buttons of my sweater and I back up clumsily into the plastic sliding board, stepping out of the mean dead weight of my shoes. “This…” I begin my shirt peels away and cool air falls all over me. The grass is cold and wet soaking through my thin socks and she is so close now. I shut my eyes so I can’t see the glint and glimmer of her skin that must be laughing at me. The cool of her fingers slides down my back opening up that lit, burning place and everything pulls tight and then away. Her arms are around me, her lips on my neck and I am weightless, rising.

When I finally open my eyes the stars surround us, shifting and burning like fireflies, cold and quiet. But I can see them now for what they are and maybe always have been: the lights of the city seen from above where we hover, lit up ecstatic and almost too bright.

© 2014 Melissa Moorer

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