• Fearsome Critters

The Moth Suicides of Kentucky Failed to Make the News that August. — John Leonard

We watched them plan their deaths,

with purpose and reason. A slow hour passed

of silent rotations. Wing-beats cancelled out

by the nighttime buzz of blue electricity.

And one at a time, the gravity of light awakened them,

beckoned them even, told them that it was finally time

to go home. And death was something they were sure of.

Humans just take poison or jump off bridges.

We aren’t lunar. We don’t have powdered wings.

And in hindsight, their falling bodies

didn’t even brush past our conversation.

You were going on about returning

to Pennsylvania in the fall,

taking a night class at Behrend,

figuring things out.

I was thinking about that blue glow,

how it made your lips look cold,

how the shadows of their wings

acted like small eclipses, briefly

taking pieces of your legs away,

and then returning them,

until the motion stopped.

We didn’t even consider how many hearts

stopped beating that night, all around us.

But what else does a poet have to think about,

years later, at 4pm, drunk on a Monday?

There should be a word for how your mouth tastes,

when somebody says glacial.

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