Like always there is a papery jumble of moths
on the terrace, fried from the heat
of our lightbulbs. I sweep them up
in the morning, careful
not to fracture their wings.
I am familiar
with the inelegance of desire.
Well-versed in its aftermath.
Often, I mistake streetlights for the moon
even when they blink.
Knowing something never makes it
any easier to believe. I read that
when Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb,
the moth population took a huge hit.
The fluorescent artificial glimmer
was so irresistibly confusing so wonderful so warm it was instant
and isn’t that just the way it goes.
Call it whatever you want:
bad transverse orientation, distraction, love
they all mean the same thing.
The moths care nothing for the smell of burning chitin.
They simply draw closer.
Simply forget what they were meant to do:
get moth groceries,
call their mothers,
they hover, brittle;
inches from the buzzing white blue
minutes away from exhaustion / predation / overheating
their only thought: it is very beautiful
[Note: ‘It is very beautiful over there’ – Thomas Edison’s last words]
About Richelle Sushil
Richelle Sushil is an Indian-Indonesian poet and literature student from Jakarta, currently pursuing her MA at UCL. Her poetry has recently won the Cosmo Davenport-Hines Prize 2020, and is featured in Wild Court. She tweets @RichelleSushill