The outside is in you now—

that scarlet fall of maple too bright

to be believed in on this dark day.

Does the rain make you wait?

The skittery path of a morning

moth? It flies too low and slowly.

More likely company, white pine and cedar

keeping the saw-whets from grief.

You’d never know they’re there

but for their mewling calls. Just a day,

a night, a day as they make their way

south, southwest to the wintering places.


I never told you about the summer moth

wide as my palms, auburn shading

to doe-brown, fringe of pink

fading to a blue luna line.

I found her under the new pear,

wings flush with the summer grass.

Heartbroken or dying it seemed

until she shuddered eyespot to eye,

a lidless waking on the powdery

slope of wing. Two small rondels

see-through as cellophane, clear

as prayers, one world to the next.

Lying flat, warmed by the earth,

there’s just a glimpse of grass.

But imagine them in flight—

Antheraea polyphemus—the moving blue

eye of sky caught in the round pane,

all the places you might be hidden;

I’ll wait for the color, watch for the wing.

—Catherine Staples

Catherine Staples teaches in the honors program at Villanova University. Her Never a Note Forfeit (Seven Kitchens Press) was co-winner of the 2010 Keystone Chapbook Prize. Her The Rattling Window will be published next year by Ashland Poetry Press.
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Published in the 2011-11-18 issue: View Contents
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