At The Bonfire A Firefly


Photo by FT57

At the bonfire a firefly

        gets tangled in my braid
light lighting up
strands of gray

One log collapses
into another.. a spindle
of sparks    still I
don’t feel.. warm
inside this ring
of people
talking against
the shadows

……….Someone tosses in
an old Adirondack chair—
ocean-salted wood
inhales flame..and I
imagine sitting in it
fenced by fire
beneath the star-burnt sky

the stray intermittent
light of the firefly
calls me back   blue
ghost    its painstaking
……how to free it
……without harm?

I let it find
its way out
into the larger dark

Mary Buchinger is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake, 2015, shortlisted for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize for Poetry and the Perugia Press Prize) and Roomful of Sparrows, (Finishing Line, 2008). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, DIAGRAM, Gargoyle, Nimrod, PANK, Salamander, Slice Magazine, The Cortland Review, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere; she was invited to read at the Library of Congress, received the Varoujan and Houghton Awards, multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations, and placed First for the 2016 Charter Oak Award for Best Historical poem. She is co-President of the New England Poetry Club and Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts; her website is

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