A Moth as My Mantelpiece

By Saranyan BV

A moth came home last night. I must have been asleep when she did

She was not there when I retired to sleep.

She’d found a place on the mantel where some curios are kept

To tell the people the kind of person I am, the visitors who come home.


The mantel holds up a teacup with a picture of my under-grad days,

Long sideburns and disheveled hair and care-a-damn appearance.

Also, there a mascot from the University of Duke.

My son had brought and left so we could remember he was there.


I am thankful the moth found a vacant space

To spread her wings and in that order chose to die,

I think she is dead for she hasn’t moved since —

The moth not as colorful on her wings as butterflies,


The wings spread like eagle in flight, above in the sky

The wings have all the sheen, all the curve on the verges

The wings look like cape extending from kingly shoulders,


The motif on her back hard not to see in the morning sun

The body structure the same, ugly cylindrical, rolling pin with rings,

Her proboscis now immobile, coiled, were once ceaseless foragers.

It would be foolish to remove and cast her


As dead carcass in litter of the world,

Let her be, be my guest in that departed condition

Till it’s time for my going —

The house has all the air and all the oxygen.


That it chose to die in my home as mantelpiece is a benediction,

I watch her, the piece of advice sent from heaven,

Something like Gita or Guru Granth Sahib

Passing out in an unaffected stance of corporeality.


Saranyan BV is poet and short-story writer, now based out of Bangalore. He came into the realm of literature by mistake, but he loves being there. His works have been published in many Indian and Asian journals. He loves works of Raymond Carver.



3 replies on “A Moth as My Mantelpiece”

Enjoyed the poem. The graphic description of the moth makes us feel that the moth is in our own drawing room. From the lighter tone in most of the stanzas, the poem suddenly suddenly turns heavy and philosophical towards the end.

Liked by 1 person

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