By Liz Waldner
A moth lies open and lies
like an old bleached beech leaf,
a lean-to between window frame and sill.
Its death protects a collection of tinier deaths
and other dirts beneath.
Although the white paint is water-stained,
on it death is dirt, and hapless.
The just-severed tiger lily
is drinking its glass of water, I hope.
This hope is sere.
This hope is severe.
What you ruin ruins you, too
and so you hope for favor.
I mean I do.
The underside of a ladybug
wanders the window. I wander
the continent, my undercarriage not as evident,
so go more perilously, it seems to me.
But I am only me; to you it seems clear
I mean to disappear, and am mean
and project on you some ancient fear.
If I were a bug, I hope I wouldn’t be
this giant winged thing, spindly like a crane fly,
skinny-legged like me, kissing the cold ceiling,
fumbling for the face of the other, seeking.
It came in with me last night when I turned on the light.
I lay awake, afraid it would touch my face.
It wants out. I want out, too.
I thought you a way through.
Arms wide for wings,
your suffering mine, twinned.
Screen. Your unbelief drives me in,
doubt for dirt, white sheet for sill—
You don’t stay other enough or still
enough to be likened to.
Source: Poetry (September 2009)
More Poems about Nature
How to Triumph Like a Girl
I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest,...
Sestina in Prose
It was like climbing a mountain to those of us who’d climbed one. To the others, it was like, I suppose, something else. In other words, we let everybody find her own figure of speech.
Not that it—speech—lay thick on the...
More Poems about Relationships
When I say But mother, Black or not Black,
Of course you are polyethnic, your look does not change
Though it does harden, a drying clay bust
Abandoned or deliberately incomplete,
All the features carved in
Except the eyes. What I’m trying—
I mean—You are an...
“Un Tintero,” Inkwell
Anger is the other person inside
mi garganta, my throat.
More Poems about Religion
If You Go to Bed Hungry
If you go to bed hungry, your soul will get up and steal cold rice from the pot.
Stop playing with fire before the moon rises or you’ll pee in your sleep.
Sweeping the floor after dark sweeps wealth and good fortune...
I fear dispersal but the resounding really sounds may be full of echo
or echolocation for the next round
Eye rowed in the guest book of God my many sacred tongues
body and bow
Fingers spell now all the spaces I open
You now verse...