Times like this I find myself asking, ‘what can I do?’

I can write.

Well, this is what I wrote. I imagine it’s a good time for people to find answers in their everyday lives, to find their miracles in the mundane.






Not a day yet passed

since the senseless


and held—pronounced

as many dead as

stars fill the flag,


that you—my son caught

fireflies in a jam jar.

We were on the hunt

in the twilit front yard.

Taller grass blades bent

as flies weighed down


their tips—butts lit up

like bulbous thumbs.

You ran until you hit

your mom at the thigh.

You couldn’t fit through,

caught like the flies


you brought me in your net.

You stared up at her.

Then I remembered

my first memory was

my mom telling me

I couldn’t run between


her legs like racing

gates any longer.

I thought how you’re

old enough now to store

your memories forever.

We put grass in the jar,


nailed holes in the lid,

let their glow fill the dark.

We avoided the news

so the first thing you know

is fireflies in a net not

fifty dead in Orlando.




15 Responses to “Orlando

  • Beautiful, thanks for sharing. We all need a little more fireflies and less hate. ?

  • This is beautiful, Mark.

  • Stunning. It made me remember to live in the moment and love what I have regardless of how tough everything else is. Thank you for that.

  • Wow, the world is a different place with children, isn’t it? Beautifully written. Having lived in Orlando for 25 years, I just can’t fathom what’s happened. And the first fireflies of the season were here in NC last night. Amazing that it all came together in your poem. ; )

    • Can’t be a coincidence can it? It is a different place. I’m glad they are still at an age where I protect them, not guide them through this.

      • Not a coincidence, I agree. Mine are grown up and I’m still trying to protect them, but it’s a little bit easier. ; )

  • This took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. Keep catching fireflies with your kids.

  • Great thoughys. Fireflies are the greatest!

  • This is so beautiful….mark, you have a gift. Writing…yes. But your writing makes people feel. This event has been so tragic, and there have been so many tragic world events….that it’s too much. I have no words and only feel despair when these things happen. Thank you for articulating what I can’t, for bringing an element of beauty into something that is so tragic it’s beyond our comprehension. ❤️

  • This is a fabulous dichotomy, the metaphor is searing Mark – an awesome write. I love all the realism that we can each of us recall from childhood transitioning to adulthood.

    • Appreciated your post on MN sir. Unfortunately “Orlando” could now be called “Minneapolis” or “Baton Rouge” or “Dallas”

      I’m sick to my stomach

  • Dunno how I missed this first time around. Maybe I caught it and clicked ‘save’ and forgot about it. In any event, I’m glad I read it today. Thank you, Mark. You have the gift with words. Now, onto some other ‘reading’ I have. Wink. – Danno

  • johnny Spence
    9 months ago

    I think I missed this first time round. absolutely beautiful and totally relevant social comment. Kudos Mark.
    hope your still in a more relaxed state, ‘your hooked on the cure’ made me most concerned, I saw, rather read the warning signs, but afraid ive been ignoring my instincts due to the adrenal tap being jammed on open. love to you, man, johnny

    • The adrenal tap? Not sure what at is. Hope you’re alright though, John. Thanks for this comment. This is what I’m most proud of on the blog. It was pure inspiration. It really helps to know you read it and could appreciate it. Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing. Thank you for your friendship.

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