Moth Cage

Robin Dawn Hudechek
She trapped the moths under a lilac tree
and scooped the lilacs in a jar.
At night she held the jar to a dusty lamp.
The light was fire against her palms
and a transparent vein in moth wings.
Anna loved her moths.
Their bodies were paper thin
and airborne like her mother’s winged eyes
when her mother smashed beer bottles
and glass trickled down the wall.
It was her mother who bandaged her chest and arms
and made her wear long sleeves.
One moth escaped.
Her mother swatted it in the kitchen
and wrapped the moth in tissue paper.
Anna made a twig cross and buried it under the lilac tree.
She removed her sweater
to let the sun stream on her bandages
and imagined rays like fingers
lifting them from her arms, her chest.
It was then her mother moved her bed to the basement
and Anna poked the first oxygen holes in the jar.
The lilac tree tapped her window.
A ghost of wings dusted the branches.
Anna opened the jar and watched moths
slam against the patch of blue sky.
One by one she lifted them
and pressed moths to the window pane
so the sky could illuminate their bodies
as she shredded the bandages
and fluttered the newborn wings
from her hands into the air.

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