A Death’s Head Moth Visits California


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I am trying to understand you, moth

Your brown blink of dun fur dotted white buzzing

You, dead on my office floor

You, taunting me on the house porch

Who do you carry?


The Internet tells me you bear a skull on your thorax

But I see a smiling pig snout as if you welcomed the down and out and muddy

Do I know you? Did we meet on the beached fishing boat in Monterosso?

I sense you have a message transcending statistical data


We are both honey-named short proboscis Medusas

Larvae for the undercurrent’s meat

Taxonomical aberrations

Pierce the wax, damage the fruit


The myth of my Italian heritage says I may have the malocchia

To be stalked by a death’s head moth

To be stalked by wings I must carry a horn

Stout tongue of the stigma

If the oil forms an eye, your fur is mine


Myth says moths are dead souls

Your body was as intact as a specimen

As I set you in the wastebasket

Where is the apparition you’ve been carrying?

I want to talk to her.


image from http://greenbuzzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/beerobber-moth.jpg

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Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including the forthcoming trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

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