[Poem] Emperor Moth, by John Eppel


Order Lepidoptera. Among moths
you are a giant. You cross my threshold
late at night, gutter my candle with your
shadowy wings, chill my spine with fearsome
          staring orange eyespots ringed in darkness.

          Family Saturniidae. You seem
          to sense my agitation. I recall
          you as a larva gorging yourself on
          bauhinia leaves; licorice body
          sprinkled with almond chips and candied peel.

          Bunaea alcinoe, your feeding
          frenzy is over; now it’s mating time,
          antennae combed for the occasion, wing
          tips neatly trimmed. But you might burn your soul,
          might lose, like me, your opportunity.

          Such fancy names, night butterfly, for a
          shriveller of leaves, douser of candles,
          invader of these deliberate fools:
          wingless but poised, nevertheless, pencil
          and paper at hand, chocks away, for flight.

(c) John Eppel, 2008

About the author

John Eppel is an award-winning poet, novelist and short story writer. His books include the novels, D.G.G. Berry’s The Great North Road ( Carrefour-Hippogriff, 1992); Hatchings (Carrefour, 1993) and The Giraffe Man (Queillerie, 1994). His latest novel, The English Teacher (extract) is due out shortly from amaBooks.

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