The Lilac Bushes and the Forest-Tent Caterpillars
by Martin Willitts Jr
Lilacs grew on our boundary.
My window opened to a whiffed aroma of lilacs.
Light-purple light would wake me.
There was a thin spider-web nest of caterpillars.
In the weight of their nest squirmed black larvae,
begging for mercy. The larvae moved together single file.
Silken treads were laid down by leaders.
They knew they were going places
and they were destroying things in the way.
Buff-colored moths emerged about 10 days later.
They searched the solitude of streetlights.
The neighbors tried smoking the nest to kill it.
I could hear the caterpillars dying.
Everything is a by-product of disagreement.
Everything that was is gone.
Everything that will be is not possible anymore.
And in the end, nothing survived.
The neighbors passed on.
My father turned purple as a lilac, and died.
There are no more moths hovering on…
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