Every few days another moth appears.  

I hear them rattling between the window

and rice paper taped across the glass

to hinder the curiosity of addicts. These large


cigarillo-thick animals bang the walls

with their eccentricity and fur, eventually

bumping into the light over my desk where

dust falls from their wings onto the backs

of my hands. I suppose they come

from some crack in the floor, larvae

transformed into an air-borne cigar

so unlike a butterfly’s flying scrap of silk.  


I feel less lonely when they come. I imagine

they are asking for help, and I am a hero.

I catch them in a plastic cup and toss them

into the night air from my doorstep.   

But then one night it occurred to me


that maybe it’s the same moth over and over,

and I am not understanding

what keeps happening, here, at all.

Michael Lithgow’s poetry has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, The New Quarterly and The Fiddlehead. His first solo collection, Waking in the Tree House, will be published in Spring 2012 by Cormorant Books. He is currently a contributing editor at, research associate with the Canadian Alternative Media Archive project, and director of