Joel Vega: The Fifth and Careful Season

Beyond October, before the lure

Of orange, the swarm flies across

Nevada’s skies.

Listen, the talebearer says,

Listen as they drag the weight

Of distances from as far as Peru

And Cebu.

Head, thorax, abdomen,

Two antennae, six legs.

Lepidoptera. Scaly wings

Open (inhale) close (exhale)

The dusty breath

Of mute birds.

What is an army of itinerant moths?

A catapulted piece of the moon,

Flung to earth from the Sea of Tranquility.

But ours is a season of agitation

When guns in an arid land

Hound orphans, their pain looming,

Bigger than a mountain.

Tonight, the moths seek shelter

In mossy ribs of fallen logs,

Their wings encoding

Secret trajectories of storms.

What we hear though is neither

Typhoon nor hurricane

But the solid rain

Of ricocheting bullets

Hissing in the dark.

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