Lightning Bugs in a Mason Jar, Summer of 1998, Moments Before a Disaster – J. Ian Bush

It’s the summer of 1998. I’m given a mason jar. Almost everything is black. My father hasn’t made me bleed yet. He jokes that the grass is high enough to disappear in. He smells like Budweiser but his eyes don’t reek of violence. There are lightning bugs. He grabs one. Smashes it. Makes his open palm glow. He tells me that even when their hearts stop beating the blood is still beautiful. Instead I decide to capture some. To keep them in one solid piece. It’s the summer of 1998. I’m learning that making something bleed can never be beautiful. I still don’t want to disappear. It’s the summer of 1998. There is my father. He smells like Budweiser but hasn’t made me bleed yet.



J. Ian Bush is an Ohioan poet who is interested in the confessional and surreal. Their first chapbook, “Route 23 to Golgotha” was published by EMP books, a small press, in early 2019. Ever since, they have been selling copies online, as well as at live readings. They also run a house venue in their city, where a regular poetry reading is held, as well as other local performing artists. Their work has been featured in various magazines and journals.

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