The Moth and the Fish by Kathrine DuVal
I wrapped my son’s birthday gift
In the cellophane of moths’ wings.
It is fragile as the skin on his eyelids,
As the chiffon of my wedding gown.
My son cried when I flushed his fish.
He spit his hatred in my eye.
When did I become the grave digger, love taker?
Maybe, it happened in that first moment of conception.
I can conceive a little moth,
Fluttering around the light of inadequacy.
Packed school lunches and baskets of laundry—
I tick them off my to-do list.
My son stares at his new fish,
Trapped in its glass bowl. I look
At his eyes, wide enough to capture
My failings—tiny hands that grip mine like hooks.
I whisper my love to him
Over the crashing of Rubbermaid and Clorox.
So young, so kind and new—his careful voice
Sings me to sleep when I forget my name.