Very Large Moth By Craig Arnold

After D.H.L.

Your first thought when the light snaps on and the black wings
             clatter about the kitchen       is a bat

the clear part of  your mind considers rabies       the other part
             does not consider       knows only to startle

and cower away from the slap of  its wings       though it is soon
             clearly not a bat but a moth       and harmless

still you are shy of it       it clings to the hood of the stove
             not black but brown       its orange eyes sparkle

like televisions       its leg  joints are large enough to count
             how could you kill it       where would you hide the body

a creature so solid must have room for a soul
            and if  this is so       why not in a creature

half  its size       or half its size again       and so on
             down to the ants       clearly it must be saved

caught in a shopping bag and rushed to the front door
             afraid to crush it       feeling the plastic rattle

loosened into the night air       it batters the porch light
             throwing fitful shadows around the landing

That was a really big moth       is all you can say to the doorman
             who has watched your whole performance with a smile

the half-compassion and half-horror we feel for the creatures
             we want not to hurt       and prefer not to touch

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