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MICHAEL LEE PHILLIPS

 

 

 

Michael Lee Phillips

Michael Lee Phillips graduated from Fresno State College. His book, Nights of Naked Mannequins (Austin Hall Press) was published in 2010. His poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Cutthroat, Main Street Rag, The Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, Southern Poetry Review, The Stinging Fly and many other journals. He is retired (teaching) and lives and writes in Ridgecrest, California.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Fireflies

 

My aunt Paralee tells me to keep it.

It’s a mug, thick and heavy as if made of lead,

the color of coffee with milk, a single word, Victor, stamped

into the bottom. A cheap mug she picked up

when Darrel’s Diner on 19E outside of Burnsville, North Carolina,

went belly up after the flood.

I got two, she says, I only need one.

She has already given me her fireflies every night

while I sat on her front porch,

three shopping bags full that I intend to soak in water

according to her written instructions

as soon as I return to the desert.

Wait until they’re ripe, she keeps reminding me,

And don’t let them get too soggy,

they have to fly, you know.

I have told her about the young woman whose bedroom

window is visible from my back yard.

Fireflies will do the trick, she says, Just leave them be,

don’t get too bossy or nothing,

soon’s they see the light of her window, well,

I don’t need to tell you.

Tonight is our last night, and the fireflies are a bit slow

in coming out, but Paralee is patient.

The harvesting of fireflies is a thing of beauty to behold

when performed properly,

which is what I tell her as she hands me the night’s catch,

the last of the season.

I mighta’ give you the snakes too, she says, But you don’t look

like a snake fella to me.

 

 

 

©2015 Michael Lee Phillips

 

 

 

Author Links

 

Two poems by Michael Lee Phillips at the Waywiser Press

'Grip': poem by Michael Lee Phillips in the Atlanta Review

Purchase Nights of Naked Mannequins (Amazon)

 

 

 

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