Canto of the moths

The rains have come and winter
is not as far away as it was looking,
though beneath shadecloth

and over the glistening white sand
of Timmy’s sandpit, hundreds
of moths are staggering

through the air, falling to sand
to fly up confused again. In dull
green light they are tiny angels

without entries or exits,
and following them with our eyes
we grow giddy and confused.

Their wings heavy with rain,
dust is running off like sludge.
The terrace of sand a desert

of the drowning and drowned.
Plastic buckets and shovels,
rakes and rubber balls,

compact earth-movers and bulldozers,
starfish and castles, all tombstones
where there should be no markers

of the real. In a place where shadows
filter through shadecloth onto sand,
late rains have altered the rules:

angels, like spent nuclear fuel,
toxify in their different forms,
boomerang back into sacred lands.

About John Kinsella:
John Kinsella’s most recent volumes of poetry are Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems (W. W. Norton, 2003), Doppler Effect: Collected Experimental Poems (Salt, 2004), and The New Arcadia (W. W. Norton, 2005).