Some things are unignorable.
For example, moths seem to be unignorable in my writing. They’ve crept in and out of my poems for years now. Experiencing moth season in Albuquerque, New Mexico only increased the fascination.
The bumbling after direction and light – yeah, I get that.
They are a symbol of fragility and persistence for me. In this way, they are all that more human to me.
Human fragility and persistence are also unignorable. Reading the poem below by Aimee Nezhukumatathil brought this lesson home. While the world of the poem is a dark one, the lyric never loses sight of the human factor. Through the final image, the fragility and persistence of the moth is made kindred to human predicament and struggle. This poem itself was unignorable.
Two Moths – Aimee Nezhukumatathil*
Some girls on the other side of this planet
will never know the loveliness
of walking in a crepe silk sari. Instead,
they will spend their days on their backs
for a parade of men who could be their uncles
in another life. These girls memorize
each slight wobble of fan blade as it cuts
through the stale tea air and auto-rickshaw
exhaust, thick as egg curry.
Men shove greasy rupees at the door
for one hour in a room
with a twelve-year-old. One hour — One hour —
One hour. And if she cries afterward,
her older sister will cover it up. Will rim
the waterline of her eyes with kohl pencil
until it looks like two silk moths
have stopped to rest on her exquisite face.
* published in Poetry November 2013