A Moth in the Projectorlight [excerpt]
Even if only in photographs—
a laundry truck, seconds after.
Phone in the apartment ringing
above the accident & a coroner
careful enough to stay speechless
until the wind picks up
& the passersby can smell simply
the blood, like fresh wood or
A boy of six cups his hands
around a wet moth
as he stands up
in the bathtub
releasing it to the mirrorlight.
Beige wingdust on his palm.
Yellow. The room is orange
& black also. Water
a whistle, draining in his mother’s tub.
This is the part of the story where
& where I come in.
around the corner for the signal:
your twin sisters will
free from the balcony.
smelling of rye.
Aluminum dust under his
Memory opens a little door:
the dark & you listen
with your eyes
& write things in my letter
you’ll pretend later
A kid at the mailbox sings that
your brothers are deader than doorlocks,
that your mother lives
in their teeth.
no center, broke-lit
from the team of horses
under the great lamps.
A curse of split melon
on the kitchen counter
draws me out into the snowdrift.
White heat from the boy’s breath
& the toy house’s tiny doorbell
chimes somehow in the empty room
startling the cat.
You took your apricot dress to the drycleaners
& left it forever.
Haystink, humming street ruckus, moonlit
Each evening I peek into that mailbox
for what my father’s unable to tell me
on the edge of my own bed
morning will scorch
into the sockets of his arms
& that he is
drinking sorry again
From Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk by Joshua Marie Wilkinson. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Date Published: 2006-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/moth-projectorlight-excerpt