The Moth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic


A moth flew through my balcony doorway and made a beeline for my lamp.  

I tried to help. I switched off the lamp and switched on my balcony light. But there was still that space of darkness in between, and my deck light wasn’t nearly as bright as the lamp had been. The moth didn’t want to budge… or maybe I wasn’t patient enough.

I struggle between impatience and too much patience. Either I move on quickly, or I wait too long.

Regardless, it wouldn’t go outside, and for a while, I let it rest inside the lamp’s glass curve.

Maybe it was just too tired. I’ve been too tired before. So tired that I couldn’t see more than a pinprick in front of my face. So tired that I couldn’t move or didn’t want to. I’ve been so tired that all thoughts pulled me farther beneath the waves, heavy as anchors.

Eventually, I tried placing a slender writing pen against the edge.  I urged the moth to climb on top so I could release it outside. I tried encouraging the insect into a cup, but no amount of nudging would help.

But maybe I was too gentle, too afraid to brush its delicate wings with my fingers. I was afraid to hurt the moth, but I knew it’d be better off outside.

As I watched the moth flutter around, it occurred to me that maybe something was trying to save me too. All the things that felt like flying into darkness or giving up something precious were only the ways of escape.

Maybe you were simply the brightest lamp. And I was a moth, clinging to the warm illumination as though it would save me.

There I was in the dark after your light went out, after your welcome ended. There I was avoiding the pen and the cup, hoping that it was only temporary. Because I’d never seen a lamp so bright. Because sometimes we’re so blinded by what we’re looking at, we can’t see anything else. Sometimes we’re so tired that our vision is restricted to a pinprick.

Meanwhile, the universe holds out a pen and turns on a distant light.

But to reach that distant light will mean traveling into the dark and trusting that it’s worth it.

It’s worth it.

 

 


Submitted: September 14, 2020

© Copyright 2021 J.M. Elam. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Penny Scribe

Thought provoking, j.m. I like it.

Mon, September 14th, 2020 7:40pm

allenmw

Very nice! I have a couple of suggestions that I would not offer if I didn't already love your poem.
There are two places where you kind of unnecessarily steer the reader:
Consider dropping the 9th strophe and final line. If you think they are necessary, okay, not a deal-breaker, but I prefer being presented with "what is or was" and making sense of it all by myself.
Love this.
Respectfully,
Allen

Mon, September 14th, 2020 9:08pm

allenmw

Very nice! I have a couple of suggestions that I would not offer if I didn't already love your poem.
There are two places where you kind of unnecessarily steer the reader:
Consider dropping the 9th strophe and final line. If you think they are necessary, okay, not a deal-breaker, but I prefer being presented with "what is or was" and making sense of it all by myself.
Love this.
Respectfully,
Allen

Mon, September 14th, 2020 9:09pm

allenmw

Sorry for the double post. I don't know how to delete the duplicate--yeah, I'm an old guy.

Mon, September 14th, 2020 9:11pm

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