Death of a Moth

it has been many years since.

my memory has begun to fail me, like everything else.

i can no longer picture her face as clearly. and when i can, it is the face of her childhood. she is telling me that there is a place for my moth in heaven. and i find myself trying to ask her "is there a space for me in hell?" but i am too afraid to listen to her answer.

i don't notice much now, except things like the sun and moon.

i've been told that there is a face of a man on the surface of the moon. but i can't believe it. i've spent so many hours staring into space, that i know that there can be no life up there.

all of the emptiness.
all of the void.

and so i laugh now, every time i think of the moon.

and they tell me that i'm fine. that things will work out just fine.
and i tell them that things are already so wrong.

to them, anything i do is an improvement.
the way i see it, all of it is punishment.

they all tell me what to do, and how to do it.
i've learned not to argue.

they say that my marked signs of improvement mean imminent recovery.
i'd just as well have a relapse.

they've called me sick, and i've never begged to differ. i just feel that they are being too easy on me. they just don't understand. they just don't realize. they just can't comprehend what i've done.

the first time we kissed,
was in the natural history museum.

it was a school field trip.
our fifth-grade class was studying about ancient earth. in the room with all of the enormous skeletons of brontosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex, she pulled me close, and kissed me. as i remember it, we almost fell and toppled a small baby dinosaur. our teacher saw us and quickly separated us. but i've never been able to separate the images of those dead creatures and her kiss.

later, we had laughed and kidded each other about it, but she had never fully understood the effect it had had on me.

for our eighth-grade graduation dance, Maudlin had insisted that her mother make her elaborate black velvet and lace dress. when she arrived at the dance, the teachers were shocked and disturbed.

she was dressed completely in black,
from her shoes to the black lace veil.

it looked as if she had mistaken the dance for a funeral. the teachers made her leave before i could even talk or dance with her.

and so now, my nightmares thrive on this past.

i don't think Maudlin ever did these things to hurt me. but now, i can't be sure that she didn't do these things to seed my nightmares. i see her in that black gown, and she kisses me. and all i can see are the bones of death all around me.

all i wanted was to love her.
all i had managed was to kill her.
if not by my own hands, i had guided hers.
i had not saved her from it all.
i had let her slip into her surroundings.

and she had stayed hidden to me.
she stayed hidden to me to the end, until she was betrayed by the red of her blood.

i had not know who i had loved.
i would never know who i had killed.

whenever i return to my room, i only notice whether the sun is up or down. all i can do is go to sleep. in the morning, they will wake me again and continue with their treatments.

one of these days, i might be released from this hospital. but i know, that i will never be freed from this asylum.

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Matte Elsbernd
copyright © 1995