the muslin moth
(Diaphora mendica, female)
The white moth emerged
in the soft light of the morning,
almost camouflaged against
the pearly bathroom wall.
Full of sleep and wonder,
startled by its fresh presence,
I nodded in acknowledgment,
a kinship with its perching.
Next morning, three red drops:
a vertical line, like dried blood.
Unaware of life cycles, I worried
about potential causes of illness
while my love began to panic;
her fear of moths, forgotten.
Quickly, then, I balanced on a corner
of the bathtub with my tools—
a pint glass and a postcard—
to save them both.
ERICA GILLINGHAM is a queer poet & writer living in London, England, via Siskiyou County, California. She is a bookseller at Gay's The Word Bookshop, Books Editor for DIVA, & Poetry Editor for The Signal House Edition. Erica has a PhD in lesbian love stories in young adult literature and graphic novels. (She wrote a lot about kissing.) Website. Instagram.
(image credit: British Library digitised image from page 78 of "Songs for Little People [With illustrations by H. Stratton.])