The last time I left your house I saw a moth
on the black skin of a puddle, ruining herself
on the moon’s reflection. Dear sphinx hawkmoth
I mistook for a hummingbird among the grapes.
Darling metaphor at my feet. Damn fool.
The water in me reached out for itself,
which is the way of all good mirrors. It wanted
its nest of stone. An hour before we’d scratched
your ceiling into snow, dusted the blanket fort
where we held each other and did the quiet work
of intimacy and then the siren work of pleasure
as the sheets fell down around us. I felt the dark
coin of blood wish itself onto white cotton.
I hadn’t known the meaning of missing,
though lost was always clear. I gave your ghost
ten minutes to ache in me. It took my throat. I took
the wings from the moth. They were the soft, dishonest
brown of my eyes. They wanted to belong to me.
You must remember, though you weren’t there.
It was the night you said sloth was not a vice
of laziness but the refusal to seek God.
The moth’s furred body twitched in my palm,
drew her legs closer. My hands, an unclosed envelope,
a failed prayer. She’d spent herself on the image
of her desire, bright as a communion plate.
When I left her wingless body on the wet moon
I wanted her alive. I envied her suffering,
thought she got what she wanted—not longing,
not regret, but fulfillment, a whole sky,
nothing in the end but light flooding into her.