Fiction,  flash fiction

Lady Moth

Why are butterflies more beautiful than moths? With their loud colors, their sturdy wings, their pretentious stories of transformation as if that one time they changed was some grand accomplishment.

The butterfly had no control over that change. It was a pregnancy, giving birth to herself. There is no talent or skill in giving birth. Your body takes over with contractions and cramps and pain until you are turned inside out. It is out of your control, giving birth to yourself or another. You are along for the ride.

It’s what you do after that takes wisdom. But butterflies rest on their smug laurels talking about metamorphosis and transformation and “let me tell you about when I was a caterpillar.”

Spare me, butterfly. Your beauty is n’t deep. Your wings are transparent.

I’d rather be with moths like me. Once a moth, always a moth. Invisible if we want to be. Angels when we want to be, soaring on powder soft wings.

It’s unnecessary, we say about suffering. As if suffering were frivolous like filigree on our lives. As if it were decorative, meant to add depth or wisdom that we could do without.

It makes poetry seem important but poetry is only important when we are suffering unnecessarily, for effect. As if suffering were seasons to help us break up time, highlight elation, provide emotional variety.

Unless by chance you are a moth like me and your suffering is necessary. We suffer as warning, for prevention, to be saved from ourselves.

We are self-destructive little creatures, we moths.

I am a moth, plain and fragile, one of many. I have no sense of my weakness. My delicate wings let me soar high and in circles. I land softly. I make no noise. I will never change. There is no future butterfly, there was no caterpillar. There is just the lady moth, fallible and fragile, surviving.

Suffering is necessary and so is the moth. Yet, both are useless and forgettable; it’s inextricably entwined. The moth, in the night, can’t stay away from the flames. She can’t stay away from the pain, it is a part of her.

Suffering is the heat from the fire I can’t stop playing with.
Suffering is the smoke that chokes me before I suffocate.

Suffering is the only thing that stops me from burning, willingly, too soon. I have no sense of how quickly my cotton soft wings will catch fire. I just know the pain of getting close, too close, too fast, too soon, too frequent. And I know the suffering that keeps me at bay.

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