As Long As There Are Fireflies and Children

In My Lai, Vietnam, grandchildren of Ha Thi Quy, a survivor of the 1968 My Lai Massacre, hunt for snails at the ditch where civilians were rounded up and killed.

At times I’m certain that all true innocence has died with one last wince and a single tear as we stood around with our heads down and our hands together in helpless repose, watching the final breath that I can trace back to no less than a half dozen killing moments.

Then the sky breaks out in pink, the firefly shift begins and I remember the little boy who was so happy to wave at me from the backseat of a jeep at a traffic light. His cheeks must have hurt from grinning so much.

I remember the little girl from a village on the other side of the world who only wanted to throw a ball, back and forth, back and forth. We didn’t speak; we just played catch and that was our moment that nobody could steal.

I can hear my name shouted over and over by a friend’s three year old daughter who was very excited about the restaurant fish, especially the orange one.

And I think about the young but scarred heart who thanked me for a gift of blank pages, telling me how she had already written a story in them. I hope those pages end up covered with mostly firefly sunset words, leaving almost no space for the dark room, locked door passages.

Here’s hoping the dark room, locked door passages remain short and seldom for us all.


  1. Thank You Chance. A beautiful addition to Your body of Work. “Hope” is a most Wonderful Thing. Often the genesis to the most special moments we will experience in this life.

  2. Reading a language, feeling a language, and writing a language are very different skills. Chance, it’s nothing short of a gift to read and feel language so thoughtfully crafted by someone like you who can translate your experiences so powerfully into the written word.

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