poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

Recorded for Poem-a-Day March 5, 2019.
About this Poem 

“I’ve embraced that I’m working toward a poetics of desire, and desire bears obsession. When an animal comes into my sight, I obsess: What is it about this particular beast, and how can I make it mine? There is a belief that we'll meet five soulmates in our lifetime. I (figuratively, of course) placed five moths in my body to discover how their instincts play into mine.”
—Carly Joy Miller

Five Moths

Moons on the upper visual
field. I replay many springs

                                      for their ripening
                                      heat. Five limb in

                                                                           me: Ornate, Greased,
                                                                           Codling, Luna, 
                                                                                Death’s-head.

                                                  Two supernatural, three
                                                  balance need. I feed on fat

                                                                                      apples, pears: 
                                                                                           Tunnel
                                                                                      toward center, a 
                                                                                           heaven

                                                            in the core. Instinct
                                                            attempts to correct

                                       with a turn
                                       toward light.

                        My dress
                        a brief

                                     darkness. Flits
                                     there. Another set

                                                                         of wings to tear.
                                                                         Spiral me in the silk

                                                                                     of my tongue. 
                                                                                          Farm
                                                                                     what is 
                                                                                          economical

                                                             in me: Blood for blood,
                                                             heart for snare.

                                                                          Scent, sweet
                                                                          air: My cedar,

                                                hung juniper, lavender
                                                cross: What holds the body

                         keeps the body blesses the body’s
                         lack.

                                                Is that not a blessing?
                                                What blooms in me:

                                   Trouble. Trouble.
                                   Trouble.

            So I consume. So I feed
            what festers.

When navigating artificial
light, the angle changes

                         noticeably. Angle strict, beloved:
                         My head a mess of moon.

Copyright © 2019 by Carly Joy Miller. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 6, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Carly Joy Miller. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 6, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Carly Joy Miller

Carly Joy Miller

Carly Joy Miller is the author of Ceremonial (Orison Books, 2018), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the Orison Prize for Poetry.