Vox Populi

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Leslie McGrath: Luna Moth

I last saw one decades ago.

There were nine or ten that July night

moon-green and big as dinner plates

some affixed to the doorscreen, others hovering

like slow applause at the edge of the sphere of light

cast by the hall lamp. Both drawn and threatened

by what we’ve made to illumine our human way

they were gone by daybreak.


Yesterday morning we found one poised on the lantern.

A tragicomic beauty: his tiny Nosferatu head ironically

without a mouth

the false eyes on his wings meant to scare predators away

could’ve been cigarette burns.


As a child I might have said he looked like the son of a barn swallow

and a cabbage leaf, of a fairy queen and a kite.

Ten years ago, the son of a coat hanger and a movie theater curtain

a golf umbrella and pinking shears

or a jet and a twenty dollar bill.


How long before we liken every natural thing

to its technologic spawn?  No singleton, no swarm

just a pixelated image

I once saw of a moth—mild, defiant, and doomed.

Copyright 2017 Leslie McGrath. Originally published in Truth to Power: Writers Respond to the Rhetoric of Hate and Fear, Cutthroat Journal of the Arts. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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This entry was posted on July 24, 2017 by in Environmentalism, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , .

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