Some Questions You Might Ask
by Mary Oliver
Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?
Very Large Moth
by Craig Arnold
Your first thought when the light snaps on and the black wings
clatter about the kitchen is a bat
the clear part of your mind considers rabies the other part
does not consider knows only to startle
and cower away from the slap of its wings though it is soon
clearly not a bat but a moth and harmless
still you are shy of it it clings to the hood of the stove
not black but brown its orange eyes sparkle
like televisions its leg joints are large enough to count
how could you kill it where would you hide the body
a creature so solid must have room for a soul
and if this is so why not in a creature
half its size or half its size again and so on
down to the ants clearly it must be saved
caught in a shopping bag and rushed to the front door
afraid to crush it feeling the plastic rattle
loosened into the night air it batters the porch light
throwing fitful shadows around the landing
That was a really big moth is all you can say to the doorman
who has watched your whole performance with a smile
the half-compassion and half-horror we feel for the creatures
we want not to hurt and prefer not to touch