Julie Ann Baker Brin
I am a moth
trapped in your car
beating my wings
scales turn to powder
against glass walls
of my light.
† Death’s head hawkmoth (distinguished for rapid flying)
1 Super family of the order Lepidoptera (Tortrix)
2 Feather, wing (Greek: πτερόν)
3 Scale (Greek: λεπῐ́ς)
4 Final stage of metamorphosis (Imago)
The room came more alive. Perhaps it was the permeating aroma of incense following
you. Or the rumors of your insanity preceding you. But I was at once intrigued, heavily,
with a light suffocation of fear. When can I clap? All I can do is nod my head tap my toe
bounce from foot to foot. The rhythm is a slinky, a rubber band, a swing; full, still, hard,
smooth, tight, plastic. A fiery fusion of flourish. Put it in the pocket. Improvise.
Quiet just now, please; jazz is highly regulated, somewhat subjugated, bizarrely
appreciated for its enigmatic ephemerality. Green shakers, silver strings, gold horns,
blue tongues; tension building climbing soaring muscle-grabbing release. Strangers dropping
stopping popping slouching crouching grouching. Time to get up, make a stand, a state of
commotion, anticipated, syncopated, pure and unadulterated. Move it outside, sonny.
Impossible, you say; possibly but not for me. Let me throw your alphabet to the nearest
supernova, the closest astral phenomenon, see finally what comes out of the mouths of
babes; the stars are all about you, not so far away. You need not seek a secondary plane, a
new letter, a novel emotion; it’s hiding quite possibly in your foot, your navel, the
twinkle in your eye. Let it scare you loudly.
Beg and beg; don’t give up. Persistence is flattering, charming, depending. Upending.
Are you friends with whom? How are you connected to this madness? Serially. Seriously.
Thud, crash, in rapid succession; listen to the story you’re confessing. A collective
gathering of random truths for the lost divine. Darting eyes, shivering callous hands; can I
get an amen, an ohyeah baby do it again? Please, stray from the program.
Don’t look now but you could be a genius; right brain left brain good, get in balance or
hold your asymmetry. At least fall for the fuzzy, then clinking, madness afoot; don’t
forget to take a break, venture to an alternative. It could be approaching you, premonition
could bolster you: against a wall, against a stack of library books, a tree, whatever’s cool.
Just start anywhere. Pick a page, a leaf, a line, a stage. Fill up the shelves of time.
When You’re Out of Town
I cook weird combinations of food gleaned from the freezer’s depths.
I hit “snooze” an obscene number of times.
I pile a pallet of blankies on the living room floor and sleep with the doggies.
I don’t use freshener spray in the bathroom (but I still courtesy flush).
I read in bed until I’m bug-eyed.
I catch myself whining audibly at the slightest inconvenience.
I drink straight from the cranberry juice bottle.
I let heaps of stuff accumulate in almost every room until the last possible minute.
I leave on lights outdoors. I leave on lights indoors.
I forget to bring in the mail (but remember to pull the dumpster to the curb).
I “steal” from your garage those tools you “borrowed” from me.
I revert to childhood behavior.
I practice keyboard sans headphones (much to the doggies’ dismay).
I pilfer from your “secret” snack stash to see if you’ll see.
I adjust the thermostat like a rebel.
I think of the things I’ll say to you tonight (then you call and my mind blanks).
I make silly, silly lists.
I miss you; I can’t stand it.
I can’t stand that I miss you.
By day, Julie Ann Baker Brin works for public broadcasting; by night, she participates in multiple creative and community-building endeavors. Her writing has previously been presented by Z Publishing in two Kansas’s Best Emerging Poets collection, as well as in Kansas publications like Archaeopteryx, Coelacanth, Kiosk, and Sheridan Edwards Review (in which she received a Kisner Prize for Poetry).