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.