The Fireflies of Iowa

Mather Schneider
2 min readSep 25, 2023

My mother has fixed
her house up the way she always wanted it, took her
25 years, as long
as I’ve been away.

Wood floors,
furniture that still smells new,
kitchen appliances show-room shiny,
fussily decorated bedrooms
nobody sleeps in, clocks around

every corner
all ticking in unison, every hair-raising minutia
down to the special-order sheaths
over the tissue boxes.

My wife and I sit on my mother’s back porch with her
the sky purple as a pickled beet
and I wonder aloud
where all the fireflies are.

I wanted my wife to see them. She’s from Mexico
where we live now
and she’s never seen a firefly.

We sit on my mother’s porch and watch for them
like some long-awaited comet shower
and we tell stories
and remember.

We talk about the other houses we lived in
which somehow seem more real
and we talk about my father
and the insanity on the other side
of the family
6 cornfield-filled counties



Mather Schneider

Small press burnout. Stories and poetry the best I can. Become a member and help me out: