Sharon Fagan McDermott is a literature teacher at a private high school, a poet, and a musician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.) Thanks, in part, to a grant awarded to her from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, McDermott has published three chapbook collections: Voluptuous, Alley Scatting (Parallel Press); and Bitter Acoustic (Jacar Press.) Her full collection of poetry, Life Without Furniture was recently published (May 2018) by Jacar Press (NC) Her poems have been published in many literary magazines and journals including Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Seneca Review, and the Raleigh Review.
So Daisy, the neighbor’s five year old girl is catching fireflies
and putting them in airtight Tupperware and she asks me
where to find more. I’ve just returned from dinner with Rob,
the man I’d lived with twelve years of my life, long ago,
and I had to tell him bad news from the doctor,
the diagnosis I can barely tell myself and, as ever,
he was sweet and distant, abstract and kind.
I look at the small frantic lights blowing up
in the Tupperware, say, you have to let them go, Daisy.
They can’t breathe in there. But Daisy’s not my kid
and she jerks her container away and runs
across the lawn toward another firefly up from clover.
I want to weep for the insects that will languish
and die overnight in that damn plastic.
How can a body hold so much?
Dropping me home, Rob held me for a long time,
and my animal body remembered every nuance
of his own body in space and night.
And when we hold so much at once,
what will we lose? The frantic slide into darkness?
I am all lights blowing up, contained,
diminished. The whole night ahead and all I want
is the steady drink of air and a chance
to skim the dark blades on my way
to a field of dropped stars, rising.