Joanne Dominique Dwyer


Photuris P.


The light that shines from a firefly is chemical:
luciferin and luciferase. A pigment and an enzyme.

They depend on each other. Neither one can produce a luminous body alone.
Even the arrival of the average child requires both the sperm and the egg.

A man and a woman in love is always the preferred choice for entry.
But sometimes one accepts a man-hating mother and an anonymous vial of sperm.

Or a man disguised as an angel, gray-winged, timing his appearance with
the arrival of dawn or the dismissal of dusk, wearing a foreign, yet familiar fragrance.

Immaculada was the name given to the girl-child born out of wedlock.
(The removal of rust by the sheer power of the wind.)

To make immune: from the draft, from the disease, from the theory of love.
To impale the innocent, accused of nothing more than stealing.

Could you make a list of every object that you have ever stolen?
A blue sweater, a bedpan, a can of tuna fish.

Two snow tires, a lifejacket, a deck of pornographic playing cards.
Fireflies from my brother’s jar and his ponyskin jacket.

Lucifer: did he free-fall, or was he pushed? Or was there a fault in design—
a missing enzyme? (A flower-covered coffin for the fallen angel.)

Children go out into the night carrying glass jars with air holes punched into the lids.
A random run, imagined flight, cupping light into the cave of two hands.

On the seventh floor, in the highest heaven, the place where God is said to reside
the oxygen content of the air is too low to sustain fire or life.

And children sleep with the insects held captive on their bedside tables:
a small array of constellations moving through diminished air.