A Poem: Luna | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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A Poem: Luna


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The Luna moth dies because it has no mouth, she learns this
the summer her mother dies of the cancer. It starts out
like a quickening, an easy pregnancy her mother tells her,

a fluttering, like wings. Her mother says that New Year’s moths
have invaded her mouth, have crawled down to her stomach,
their wings furiously weaving her ribs. It is not unpleasant she says,

it can’t be dangerous. Afterward, she appears as mossy
slices of apple on two wings, how perfect it is that she follows
her daughter everywhere, her heart beating all that summer.

Her breath is as unnoticed as a morning breeze, she is fragile
as a vine climbing to reach the moon, she is a stem set loose
by the sky. The Luna moth alights the daughter’s left hip and stays,

its antennae searching the warmth of her skin. The mother fans
her like a leftover Queen, reverent of her hips, the bottom
she used to diaper. She reads that butterflies are a sign from the fallen.

Her friends say a butterfly could have been a warrior or soldier.
This moth is close enough to believe in. Later, she is astonished
to discover it has no mouth and will die from not eating. There

are no trembling lips, no parched mouth to take in its last truth.
In the end, there is no proof that her daughter will walk away
from her, shining as brightly as an opalescence, a crescent of light.

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