By Jennifer O'Grady b. 1963 Jennifer O'Grady
Adrift in the liberating, late light
of August, delicate, frivolous,
they make their way to my front porch
and flutter near the glassed-in bulb,
translucent as a thought suddenly
wondered aloud, illumining the air
that's thick with honeysuckle and dusk.
You and I are doing our best
at conversation, keeping it light, steering clear
of what we'd like to say.
You leave, and the night becomes
cluttered with moths, some tattered,
their dumbly curious filaments
startling against my cheek. How quickly,
instinctively, I brush them away.
Dazed, they cling to the outer darkness
like pale reminders of ourselves.
Others seem to want so desperately
to get inside. Months later, I'll find
the woolens, snug in their resting places,
full of missing pieces.

Jennifer O’Grady, "Moths" from  Poetry magazine. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (August 1992).


This poem originally appeared in the August 1992 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

August 1992


Jennifer O'Grady grew up in New York City. She holds a BA from Vassar and an MFA from Columbia University. Her first book of poems, White (1999), won the Mid-List Press First Series Award and a Greenwall grant from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in many publications including Harper's magazine, the Yale Review, the Georgia Review, the Kenyon Review, Seneca Review, Southwest Review, The Writer's Almanac . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Summer, Animals, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.