I sing very quietly,
my notes like field mice
swallowed in the soil,
singing the sway of Indian paintbrush,
singing the rustle of columbine and moonflower.
Hardly a whisper, a moth-sized song,
but it’s all I have,
the whir of my wings
stirring the maternal air.
But hear me: Today, I killed a bee!
How could a moth kill a bee, you ask,
I hardly know myself, but I swear,
the bee is dead, he died in the fat sunshine
while we wrestled in the breeze, the bee
who would not leave me alone.
His body is on the ground tonight
by the purple thistle flowers
and the yellow clover that I love.
The moon listens to my song,
astonished, staring, wide-mouthed
and full, and in her silver I can see
the flaws I have, the scars from war,
the shiny needle left in me today,
the short stem of the bee
wet with my juices.
I whir and stop and whir some more.
I lean into moonlight,
which is dust on my wings,
navigate through stalks
of wheat flowers, bumbling.
The silence is fecund and grows,
the enormity of it takes me in,
and I become enormous in the silence,
singing quietly as I fall.
BIO: John Philip Johnson has recent work in Strange Horizons, Rattle, Asimov’s, and elsewhere, and has had noms for Pushcart, Best of Web, and Rhysling awards. His first comic book of graphic poetry, Stairs Appear in a Hole Outside of Town, was noted by many people as being loads of fun, and twice won 2nd for the SFPA Elgin award. His new comic book of graphic poetry, The Book of Fly, is due out in October. It includes “Mothsong” and will be twice as big as the first comic, and hopefully twice as enjoyable. Both comic books are available in print and digital at www.johnphilipjohnson.com
Michael Lawlor is an Artist and Architect residing in Salt Lake City , Utah