the killing jar

when I was a child,
I sped out
into the singing summer night
to catch with clumsy hands
the fireflies
that flitted, fairy-like,
above my upturned eyes.
I placed them
into the lidded jar
that would later,
to my confused tears,
kill them.
now that I am grown
I feel I know
the killing jar
all too well.
it is
the safe place,
the hidden place,
the good-intentioned place
where words
and songs
and dreams
are lidded up
to suffocate
it is
my tightly-buttoned heart,
my heart of the closed door,
of the snug zipper.
little did I know
it is the tiny,
humble light
that slays the fear
in the night
and not
the safety
of the killing jar


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