Tuesday Poem


Tonight the air smells of cut grass.
Apples rust on the branches. Already summer is
a place mislaid between expectation and memory.
This has been a summer of moths.
Their moment of truth comes well after dark.
Then they reveal themselves at our windowledges
and sills as a pinpoint. A glimmer.
The books I look up about them are full of legends:
ghost-swift moths with their dancing assemblies at dusk.
Their courtship swarms. How some kinds may steer by the moon.
The moon is up. The back windows are wide open.
Mid-July light fills the neighbourhood. I stand by the hedge.

Once again they are near the windowsill –
fluttering past the fuchsia and the lavender,
which is knee-high, and too blue to warn them
they will fall down without knowing how
or why what they steered by became, suddenly,
what they crackled and burned around. They will perish –
I am perishing – on the edge and at the threshold of
the moment all nature fears and tends towards:
the stealing of the light. Ingenious facsimile.
And the kitchen bulb which beckons them makes
my child’s shadow longer than my own.

by Eavan Boland
Literary Hub