Barbara Orton

Moths: A Taxonomy

Rustic shoulder-knot, double-striped pug,
setaceous Hebrew character,

little virgin tiger, spun-glass slug,

red-necked footman, nutmeg, drinker,

Mother Shipton, little thorn,

small magpie, drab tent-maker,

police car, unambiguous, blood-vein,

confused Haploa, joyful Holomelina,

Frank’s sphinx, Richard’s fungus, Juanita’s lichen,

beautiful snout, confusing Petrophila,

brown China mark, middle-barred minor,

red-washed prominent, zigzag Furcula,

agreeable tiger, dubious tiger, forgotten tiger,

double-toothed prominent, ochreous pug,

sordid underwing, sharp-stigma looper,

heart and dart, heart and club,

penitent underwing, little wife, old maid,

diabolical fungus, everlasting bud.


The windows of suburban houses
at dusk, suffused with yellow light,

shine their quiet code:
This is your home.

Open the door. Surely

someone will let you in. The fire burns down

in the fireplace; the children are tucked in.

Outside, the moon hangs crisp and full

over the angled roof, the roof that seems

to bring the moon in closer. They will let you in,

kind strangers, and you will belong here,

you will be safe here, you will be their child.

Barbara J. Orton's poems appear in anthologies including The New Young American Poets, Under the Rock Umbrella, and Villanelles; in an untitled Web chapbook published by The Literary Review; and in journals including 32 Poems, Ploughshares, Pleiades, and The Yale Review. She received her MFAW from Washington University in St. Louis and is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Tufts University.



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