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read by Ali Harris
00:00 / 02:27
Once upon an eve a time alone, a moth
stole fluttery upon her arm and stayed
awhile for her. A table's beacon lamp,
attractive and alight, beamed bright appeal
to flight's flickery of yellow-brown specks
- and squeaked an alarm entrance in a fright.
She tensed, alert, arrested and in thrall,
and dusk held shadows. The soft, pulpy body
seemed right: it wasn't sad; it was certain.
It flapped feathery, secreted stirrings.
It was beautiful and unexpected.
It was death: a skull pattern told her so.
It said to stop trying, to stop being
the person who had been the camouflage.
Crawling up her arm were the missing signs:
the tears at night, the desperate fumbles,
the panic in trains, lifts she didn't drive.
The moth stirred furtive insinuations.
A creep along, besides, inside to fears
of secret places kept click-locked in traps.
She knew, but not how she knew, that the moth
would later brave the hum of the bees' hives,
with its special scent and strange squeaking
and lull the sting of the venom impromptu.
And having drunk deep the gloop of honey
would take flight to safe reverberations.
She shifted to the stance where her shadow
no longer lingered in light of its own fear.
The moth had gone, a flit, a shade to shade,
and took her anguish, her lost nights with it.
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