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Monday Meditations

To rake or not to rake: that is the question. I leave the leaf litter, because... hummingbird moths. This poem first appeared in the gorgeous Briar Cliff Review in 2023, sadly its last year in print.




            after Eavan Boland


On a late May afternoon she appears,

Hemaris, bee-hawk moth, snowberry

clearwing. She is here, not having come


lazily along, but a sudden apparition.

She is chimera—part heart-melting

hummingbird, her fantail waggling,


rolled tongue unfurled to dip into

bee balm, million bells, phlox,

and part nightmare, fringed antennae


searching, yellow cape of fur, scaled

wings nearly transparent. She

will stick her larvae to the underside


of honeysuckle leaves, leave her young

to drop on the grass, wrap themselves

in silk, wait for spring. I am elbow-deep


in a thicket of tomato vines, knees

clicking like cards on bike tires, when

her hovering stirs a vibration along


my spine. Like her, my season here

is short. We will both beat our wings

to exhaustion, and when too soon


glorious adults emerge from torn

cocoons, we will fall down, she and I,

burrow beneath the leaf litter and sleep.


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