Hinged Double Sonnet for the Luna Moths

By Sean Nevin b. 1969 Sean Nevin

—Norton Island, Maine

For ten days now, two luna moths remain
silk-winged and lavish as a double broach
pinned beneath the porch light of my cabin.
Two of them, patinaed that sea-glass green
of copper weather vanes nosing the wind,
the sun-lit green of rockweed, the lichen’s
green scabbing-over of the bouldered shore,
the plush green peat that carpets the island,
that hushes, sinks then holds a boot print
for days, and the sapling-green of new pines
sprouting through it. The miraculous green
origami of their wings—false eyed, doomed
and sensual as the mermaid’s long green fins:
a green siren calling from the moonlight.

A green siren calling from the moonlight,
from the sweet gum leaves and paper birches
that shed, like tiny white decrees, scrolled bark.
They emerge from cocoons like greased hinges,
all pheromone and wing, instinct and flutter.
They rise, hardwired, driven, through the creaking
pine branches tufted with beard moss and fog.
Two luna moths flitting like exotic birds
towards only each other and light, in these
their final few days, they mate, then starving
they wait, inches apart, on my cabin wall
to die, to share fully each pure and burning
moment. They are, like desire itself, born
without mouths. What, if not this, is love?

Sean Nevin, “Hinged Double Sonnet for the Luna Moths” from Oblivio Gate, published in 2008 by Southern Illinois University Press.

Source: Oblivio Gate (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008)

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Poet Sean Nevin b. 1969

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Love, Time & Brevity, Nature, Relationships, Animals, Desire, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Metaphor

 Sean  Nevin


Poet and teacher Sean Nevin is the author of A House That Falls (2005), winner of the Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition, and Oblivio Gate (2008), awarded the Crab Orchard Award Series First Book Prize. 

Nevin has received fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He directs the MFA Program in Poetry at Drew University.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Love, Time & Brevity, Nature, Relationships, Animals, Desire, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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