Keep aloft the day

Here the day is dusking to its close, and at its setting – as at a signal –

clouds of mayflies appear. The sun unlocks them from the water,

ripe, wriggling out of carapace – impatient to be together.

Now the time for surfacing and shedding selves; now for flight.

They are the gloaming’s lumineers – late this year –

now thickening the air in clouds of light; sluggish at first

to companion one another. No longer nymphs, but made other.

Ambition lifts them high, helicoptering the sky; tails beating, mating.

They are flinching light. In their propellered flight

there is struggle and fight – the will for life.

I recognise this catching fire:

they dance of furious desire – to live and multiply and stay.

Birthing at the close; lasting no more than a day.

The sun that conjured them slowly sinks out of sight, lengthening shadows.

Dashing themselves against the last of its light, the mayflies

are at their most ephemerally bright. For one perfectly suspended golden hour,

they hold the night at bay, and keep aloft the day.