The Dream of the Moth

Laurette Folk

He chopped me into exactly twenty pieces. He was a man I had known most of my life, my mother’s lover, a rich man, a man with a deep, furrowing brow and strong arms and chaffed hands. I can tell you that the world bloomed into stars as red as blood. He laid the pieces of me out on the basement floor in the dirt, where the spiders crouch and wait. When he went away, the pieces of me shifted, and he came back and chopped some more. This happened for three days, the shifting and the chopping, until I was one thousand pieces glistening like sunlight on shattered glass. He gathered me together and piled me into a chest with dancing women carved into the grain. When he came back to bury the chest, I burrowed into his mind like a worm in wood eating away at each thought and desire.

Eventually, the medicine men came with special teas and locked him in a room in the country where only the hills could hear his screams.

In the cool dark chest, I had the dream of the little moth. I slipped my paper wings through a crack in the wood and wiggled through the crevices of the Earth. Up I fluttered, dancing, flying, up to his rooms where the concubines glided and perfumed their bodies with the finest herbs. Up I fluttered to the roof, measuring my wings against gravity, above congregations of learned men and dray beasts, up to the delicate vapors of the clouds where below me a lake mirrored all the sky’s best intentions.


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