by Robert Avery


And then, bottle down, I caught sight
of a false-eyed moth which had somehow slipped
in here with me, an origami flower

fastened to the curtain’s floral pattern.
I opened the window to June, but it didn’t go.
I opened the window wider—no.

I bent my breath to bring a lucky wind,
but its fore-sails only twittered. Now, I knew
from before: the low tide, the false harbor,

the dead calm of the corner’s curled-up spider,
who refuses to recognize a misplaced hope
in empty nets. At my hand’s approach, it finally

let go, as if threatened by an odd-winged bird,
and flustered about the room until it lit
upon another coquelicot. Again

I offered delivery, again it fled.
It was like trying to trap an unregenerate man
in contradiction, to tear him from belief—

each effort thwarted by sophistic flight,
always arriving at a pretty conclusion.
But how could I give up on its escape,

insensible as I have been to help?

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