Sep 142010

by Richard Fein

When a kid I collected moths.

Common then, rare now in this city,

trees felled, pollution, insecticides,

all the ecological etceteras.

Yet here at dusk in my backyard,

I=m eye-to-eye with a Polythemus moth.

My increasingly nearsighted eyes square with four eyespots,

four false eyes each one on a separate wing.

Moth start your evening flight right now,

flap your hypnotic spots on your fluttering brown wings.

Fly moth! But which way?

Behind, a tall fence shields our house from highway turbulence.

To the right, a twenty-story apartment building

with many windows through which nosy neighbors eye me eying you.

Fly right moth, for flying to the right requires your return, nowhere else to go

but back to my yard, to the one remaining neighborhood green bush.

There you will stay always in my sight.

Fly right then return, Fly right then return each night of your life,

your lifetime of one month bracketed by my lifetime of years,

a month of dusk-hour reminders that when a kid I collected moths..

No, not right.  Fly to the left. Fly clean away. Moth begone.

Choose now. No point wondering for thirty evenings which way you will choose.

In a day, two, no more than three,

all I=ll vaguely recall is that at a twilight hour

some last lepidopteran rose from my backyard into a waning-moon sky.