What I meant is that when the child shook the branch,
the beetles, quiet, somnolent, darkly, fell and again fell
like plums. Once woken, they bzzzed towards
the street lamps, loving each light well, thwacking
against them until they landed face down or face
up, trying to find their feet, reminding me of Eve’s face
as a baby when she tried to lift her head on her stem
of a neck before yet she could. Upon the child’s shoulders,
beetles landed, kinging him. The dusk’s gray mute
unfolded its scrolls, while his mother made toast
with boysenberry jam, his father played solitaire,
and think of his sister doing her biology homework.
But they are under the tree, he is, the bright ones falling
upon him like stars, and as they fall, he names them:
some doctors, some cooks, depending on the size
of their antennae. His face was a diary of leaves: dark,
lit, risen with laughter, then suddenly at rest. This
was one way to be inside the world rather than outside
looking into a bright window.
Copyright © 2017 Nomi Stone. “Wonder Days” originally appeared in New England Review. Used with permission of the author.