Cecropia Moth

The giant silk moth has no mouth.
He doesn’t eat.
He sleeps most days.
He flies in for a few weeks:
his only purpose is to mate
(and yeah, I knew a guy like that
in college, too),
beating his big-winged beauty
like a paper heart against the doorjamb,
the dried-blood-red of those massive wings,
the eyes inset,
the cracked grin of a voodoo god
painted on,
saying “Stay away!”
in the old tongue:
you wouldn’t want this death.

But for all that,
for his disguise,
his single-minded fasting of a saint,
they get him anyway.

I went inside to grab a tape measure
when I discovered one last Saturday,
but he was gone when I got back —
the scrub-jays on the roof perhaps,
or the Bullock’s oriole.

All they left on the deck
was a wing the size of a toddler’s hand,
thin as a five dollar bill.

I slipped it in my wallet
between my license
and a coffee shop punch card,
knowing there’s a chance
we’ll wake up one morning
in a world where quiet grace
is currency.
I pull it out sometimes,
unspent, and stare,
my eye and his
unseeing voodoo eye.

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