Hinged Double Sonnet for the Luna Moths
—Norton Island, Maine
For ten days now, two luna moths remain
silk-winged and lavish as a double broach
pinned beneath the porch light of my cabin.
Two of them, patinaed that sea-glass green
of copper weather vanes nosing the wind,
the sun-lit green of rockweed, the lichen’s
green scabbing-over of the bouldered shore,
the plush green peat that carpets the island,
that hushes, sinks, then holds a deep boot print
for days, and the sapling-green of new pines
sprouting through it. The miraculous green
origami of their wings—false eyed, doomed
and sensual as the mermaid’s long green fins:
a green siren calling from the moonlight.
A green siren calling from the moonlight,
from the sweet gum leaves and paper birches
that shed, like tiny white decrees, scrolled bark.
They emerge from cocoons like greased hinges,
all pheromone and wing, instinct and flutter.
They rise, hardwired, driven through the creaking
pine branches tufted with beard moss and fog.
Two green moths flitting like exotic birds
toward only each other and light, in these
their final few days, they mate half-starved, then
wait inches apart on my cabin wall
to die, to share fully each pure and burning
moment. They are, like desire itself, born
without mouths. What, if not this, is love?
“Hinged Double Sonnet for the Luna Moths” is from Oblivio Gate (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008).