Wand

We opened the wrappers of yellow lightsticks

and broke the plastic tubes — the sound

like knuckles popping, satisfying — to let

the glow loose. Threw them high

into the dark, to see their fluorescence against

the clouded sky. No moon. Hers had just fallen

to the lawn again when I tossed mine up

and it didn’t come down. Sideways, twenty feet high,

it moved along the air toward the branches

of the pecan trees, drew a neon trail

over the monkey bars my dad had built, then

dropped. She ran for the house, scared.

But I was busy: how had mine traveled? A bat

must have carried it off — flown thirty feet to be convinced

this was no snack — and let it fall. Triumphant,

already retelling the story to myself, I followed her

in to dessert, to the lit, warm space of my family,

suddenly terribly dull, even as the wand, touched

by the night world, began to fade in my hand.

– Anna Lena Phillips Bell from Ornament courtesy of University of North Texas Press

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