The Luna Moth

by Alexandra Cline

 

My mother could not sleep.

We had just moved into our new apartment when she received the call that her brother had died that morning.

She found her way to my blanket pile in my new room. The bareness enveloped us and we slept face to face on our sides, holding hands, arms tangled and elbows crooked.

I woke the next morning to the sight of a green monster on the window screen. My mother was already awake, resting on her knees close to the window, examining the creature.

“It came in the night.” She spoke as if she was talking to the air.

Luna Moths are large, bright green insects. They are so big that it is a disservice to call them insects, as the instinct is to call them animals. Or maybe aliens – entities.

We took many pictures of the moth. I had them saved for years. I do not know where the photos are now. They didn’t do it any justice, anyway.

Mother sat with the moth for many hours. I brought her coffee and snacks while she sat.

It wasn’t until the movers arrived that she stirred. When she checked the window again later, it had gone. I was relieved as I feared that the creature had died from the cold of the night, and that was why it was so still. To see it gone meant it lived.

It wasn’t until later that we looked it up. I think we were afraid to at first.

Luna Moths only live for one week. They are more nocturnal than not, and they do not have mouths. They emerge solely to mate – just to produce more divine looking, ghostly bugs – only to die shortly thereafter.

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