Doug Van Hooser

there are fireflies now
in my Mother’s mind
the memories glow prior to the war
three years married to a ring
thirty-five until the Master Sergeant
fell on a cancer grenade
even the next thirty-five
alone another marriage life-time

today I could not teach her
how to manage a thermostat
having conceived five children
she can’t conceive three buttons
confused by heat and cool
her memories a blanket she warms herself in
what’s new so cool it must be written down

the firefly I want is the woman
looking beyond me from the frame
sitting on the corner of my desk
the mother of my adolescent book
not the torn pages I read now

last night I wandered in a field
fireflies blinking and winking
flickering embers painting a portrait
remembering when I would catch the glow
and try to hold it in a jar
puncture the lid to keep it alive
provide a leaf a twig
not knowing what to offer
to keep the light glowing


Doug Van Hooser’s poetry has appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Chariton Review, Sheepshead Review, Gravel, and Black Fox Literary Magazine. His short fiction can be found in Red Earth Review, Intrinsick, Crack the Spine, and The Riding Light Review. Doug is a Chicago playwright active at Chicago Dramatists Theatre and Three Cat Productions.