Moth Upside Down on the Ceiling

By: Donal Mahoney

Moth Upside Down on the Ceiling

This black moth
flew in the front door
of the living room
the other night
and has been up
on the ceiling
ever since.
It’s hanging
upside down
in the same spot
not moving

like a drone waiting
for instructions.
I’m in my recliner
this morning
drinking coffee
and watching him.
He’s an immigrant
from the light
that shines all night
on the front porch
letting burglars know

I have an AK-47
should they decide
to drop in.
The last few nights
I’ve noticed other moths
fluttering around the light
perhaps wondering where
this moth is.
In his current fix,
he too may be wondering
how they’re doing.

When I was a boy,
there was a protocol
in my family when
a moth commandeered
the parlor ceiling.
My father would swing
the fly swatter
and flatten the intruder
with one splat.

The last three mornings
I haven’t seen this moth move.
I wouldn’t kill him
even if I had a swatter.
But if he were
an inconvenience,
like an unintended fetus
found in a womb,
I still wouldn’t do anything.
We have people trained
to take care of that
and like my father
they know what
they’re doing.

1 thought on “Moth Upside Down on the Ceiling

  1. An ironic, wry, light but disturbing little piece. The narrator, with his AK-47, seems to be in command of his premises, or is owning a gun just a way of buying off fear? He can’t harm the moth, he couldn’t seek an abortion. Is he sensitive or passive (as the last lines suggest)? The poem’s short line length and informal tone fit the seemingly trivial subject but also probe into our collective uneasiness with the world.

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