The Moth

Every pothole was a puddle on the day that she came, and rain
soaked the porch until it groaned. The screen door was a perfect grid
of shivering beads. It was her face
that I saw first, the alien moon-mask of curious calm.
Legs followed, a plump fuzzy body,
slender wings that twined like toes
on the dripping door handle. I brought her in.

In the midday rain the kitchen
was cabin-dark, and I thrilled to small feathers
on my wrist. I don't know
how long I sat like that, begging my skin
to remember this touching, this being alive.
I set her on the counter by the toaster
and watched her over my book, this marvel
of somehow staying with me.

Eight days we conferred together,
me with toast or a crossword,
she not eating, staring still. One sunny afternoon
the breeze was kind, kissed the dandelions
not unlike her crooked feet. The field guide was thick
but I found her there:

Actias luna, family Saturniiae.
Life expectancy: 7 days.
Outside, the sunshine
laughed at my shock. I crossed the kitchen,
blew on the fragile jade wings, watched the furred phantom skate,
empty as a paper boat, toward the sink.

photograph by Chris Wright

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I don't know why, exactly, but it made me cry.

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