Black Witch Moth

by Phillip Williams


The moth lifts its dress and everything beneath
its hem’s shadow sings: the grasses
where lie the dead bull and flies skating across
its still-open eyes, its mouth crusted over
with clover and spit and blood; and the maggots
swimming their patient circuits where
the bull’s genitals have rotted and dropped their bells.
The moth slips through gnat-swarmed air
onto the bull’s hooves and flies past the bull’s corpse,
beyond the outskirts of a barnyard. No dust
from the moth’s pleats, opening and closing,
drops onto the dead animal’s choir.
A girl sees its black dress bobbing above her,
sees in its shadow an angel to call her own.
Let a sudden finish overcome her
wherever the wild shadow lies flat its news,
lies motionless its wingdom amongst the barnyard grass.
Let the earth take in the girl as it will the bull.
And the worm-work done unto her as unto the bull.
Girl’s color gone and bone given into an end
making permanent the final pose of her suffering,
crux into crux her body returning into itself
as though into the first cell that split
until skin, until marrow, until blood, until the maggot
is king over body. Let the girl’s skin be a tearing,
to see it torn from her and wonder how
then wonder how far  until the next time, the next girl.
No dust lands from the floating moth dress,
the flying dress flashing its privates then not,
flash then not, flapping over the dead girl,  its shadow
moving up her thigh to the hip, to the torso,
lifting its garment across her naked.
And the bull into the earth. And the girl into the earth.
And the earth not full, the earth not full.


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