September Firefly

Where does he get off
thinking there’s still hope? Now
that the leaves have tarted up
in their date night lipstick shades.

Now that fall’s pine needle
breath nips at twilight’s nape
and crickets trill with a pickup
artist’s panic at last call.

Lone optimist, loins throbbing
neon yellow in the gloam.
Gone are the nights when all
his buddies swarmed
suburban lawns, formed
giddy constellations in the trees.

By now they’ve all paired up,
the only mission of their tiny lives
blinked out where summer ends.

But here he is, still flashing “Vacancy”—
now on the wind-raked hill,
now in the underbrush,
like some lakeside town motel
when the last RV has ambled
up the ramp to merge
with headlights going south.

He’ll keep this up all night, not far
from where I lie in bed alone,
nearly asleep but waiting
for your text to ping my phone—
A match struck in the darkness,
a flame cupped in my hand.