“Language of Moths” by Noam Baruch


They flutter in spangles of sun beneath eastern hemlocks
their shadows tag ripples on water,
daredevils
nearly dip their dusted wings,
and only ten feet downstream
winter's melt falls hard over the edge onto the flat rock below
that holes have formed,
one perfect for plunging our bodies and
we do, over and over,
a little less startled by the cold each time
the water is warmed slightly by our play,
while our eyes level with the slippery moss.
Above us, the small cloud of moths gathers
in this time we call September,
in clusters four-leafed clovers, bleached, and small
as the sky divers in white at the air shows we watched at the shore.
From cocoon to the first open wing of July
the white lichen moths seem to know nothing of what they are not.
I would catch them with my eyes as they darted like a game of survival
in and out under ledges of bluestone along the bank,
four or five, way below the shade of hardwoods
that gives the conifers life.
Alone, the last moth would vanish,
like sleight of hand,
in the measured closing of the day.