Home > Poetry > Ode to the Dying Moth
Published: Fri Jul 1 2016
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
Ode to the Dying Moth

Taste the honeycomb of light, this hive of brightness
enclosing you like a cage. Free to roam the tides of night,

you settle for the porch and the bulb that blooms
like an echo of the moon. O bitter-wing, O piecemeal ghost,

I can’t save you. There are too many porches, each with eyes
behind the shades admitting there are too many porches,

and what’s the use blessing this one alone with darkness?
O martyr of dust, O farmer of the forgotten, O consumer

of all we’ve discarded, your wings smudge my palms in fury.
How dare I hold you back! What presumption to protect you

from your transfiguration! The floor is littered with your fellows.
O living wick, the flame in you burns to be quenched.

Andrew Kozma received his MFA from the University of Florida and his PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. His poems have appeared in Blackbird, Subtropics, AGNI, Copper Nickel, The Best American Poetry 2015, and elsewhere, and his nonfiction has appeared in The Iowa Review. His book of poems, City of Regret (Zone 3 Press, 2007), won the Zone 3 First Book Award. He has been the recipient of a Jentel Residency, a Houston Arts Alliance Fellowship, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship, and a D. H. Lawrence Fellowship. (updated 6/2016)

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