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MOTH AUBADE
by R.T. Smith

Downstairs early to mill
the morning coffee,
I find the kitchen wall

beside the lamp
is littered with moths
exhausted from a night

of circling the globe,
as if its light were
the source of joy.

As I approach in slippers
they hardly flutter
but hold their postures,

perhaps in their small
thoughts counting on me,
a frequent dreamer

still drowsy from reverie,
to show them mercy.
Pouring the beans, then

turning the worn handle
till the brass gears growl,
I study every wing

design—solid, striped
or mottled. To the Greeks
they were all psyche,

spirit drawn to flame,
but this August morning
I wish, before they perish,

to revive us all
with the scent of chicory
and conduct them out

the kitchen window
singing their luminous
individual names.

PHOTO: “Moths” by Ike Gomez, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R. T. Smith is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, and editor. The author of 12 poetry collections and a collection of short fiction, Smith is the editor of Shenandoah, a prestigious literary journal published by Washington and Lee University. His poetry and stories are identified with Southern literature and have been published in magazines and literary journals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, and The Kenyon Review.