‘The Light Box’ by Rosie Jackson

The Light Box

Moths, of course, don’t make the news.
Not unless you follow Chuck on Twitter:
`fine in the fire and feeds on friction,’
who wants to know, `why there are so many
fucking moths in Afghanistan?’

Or Google the latest research on turning
Tobacco Hawks into cyborg spies,
implanting larvae with micro chips
so their soft little bodies will harden into drones,
enter enemy camps as light-winged innocence.

But there are men near Kandahar
who hand their children magnifying glasses
to marvel at exotic marks on Sphingid moths;
men whose heads touch the earth
five times each day in gratitude, awe, humility:
Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim.

Men like my neighbour, who shows me
his old-fashioned biscuit tin
transformed into a light box,
where moths squat like refugees
on egg boxes.

Men who catalogue species
so they won’t die out unheeded,
then release them at dawn:
Mother of Pearl, Cinnabar,
Scalloped Oak, Six-Spot Burnet,
Peppered Geometer.

Men we never hear of,
who keep alive
the light box in their hearts.
Attract nightly visitations.

(awarded Second Prize in the 2015 Battered Moons Poetry Competition judged by Pascale Petit)
Rosie Jackson lives near Frome, Somerset. Her pamphlet What the Ground Holds was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2014. The Light Box, her debut first collection, will be published by Cultured Llama in 2016.