Stone Telling

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Firefly Girls

by Caitlyn Paxson

From what shall they make their lanterns?
Rice paper
Woven rough with flecks of flowers
Large turnips
Hollowed thin with empty bellies
Silver grass
Wound up loose to rounded baskets
A pink shell
Worn light by time and distance passed

Where shall their slender feet bring them?
Through meadows
Pale wheat bows down where they pass by
Through woodlands
Trees sigh as skirts brush against bark
Over lakes
Flat boats skim them across water
Over hills
Rocks roll aside to let them pass

Who shall see the lights they carry?
Farmersí sons
Long to bring those fires to hearth
Young poets
Glimpsing the dancing lights write verse
Build marriage beds from soft pine wood
Traveling men
Set aside their walking staves

Where shall they live when they are wed?
In stone huts
They shall break bread warmed with honey
In tree tops
They lie arm in arm with branches
In long halls
Their laughter sounds between arched walls
In wide fields
They gaze up at the lantern stars

Caitlyn Paxson is a writer and storyteller. She has pursued studies in writing, folklore, and performance in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland and France. She is the Managing Artistic Director of the Ottawa StoryTellers, and her writing can be found in publications such as Shimmer, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, and Cabinet des Fees. She currently resides in Ottawa, and is putting the finishing touches on a novel about French witches and the werewolves who want to eat them.

Photography: Mikyung Lee, by Michael Oh.