I am sorry for the moth
between the screen and tempered glass,
the small muttering movements
slowing to stillness.
I could raise the sash,
let him inside to a semblance of freedom
made more temporary
by all the other closed doors and windows.
But I don’t,
watch him gasp back and forth.
I am no tight-fisted child
to be forgiven for careless curiosity.
I decay with every lack of action,
a conscious choice to let that piece fall way
even as the moth drifts softly to the tracks between.
You discover that metamorphosis
means the full gelatinous mutiny of the caterpillar,
that he must devolve down to a muddle of cells and matter,
no similar frame simply growing wings,
but a full destruction of being,
You wonder if he remembers the taste of milkweed
as he pushes free from his chrysalis,
knows the ground by his belly,
or if he awakens to dismiss it all
as the nightmare
of a mad butterfly.