Two White Moths

in Poetry
By Penny Perry

    after Cecilia Wolloch

              for my cousin, Wendy

I’m sitting in our past in the little add on room. Grandpa and his friends up the three short stairs in the kitchen, drinking tea, playing pinochle.

Two girls in light cotton, reprimanded for some small wrong. I crayoned your Kodak face purple. You pinched my pale,504793084_a7a00d8806_z plump skin. We are on our backs, counting knots in the pine ceiling. Eugenia berries heavy at the window.

Our own white-haired Old Testament God, Grandpa, pronounced us evil and we believed. In his sonorous voice he told us above knotty pine, there is only sky, some arresting constellations, Orion, the Pleiades. No heaven for your mother, already lost, he said, or mine soon to fly away.

You tug my hair. I kick your knee. Two white moths fly in the window. The whir of their wings a mother’s lullaby. The moths find our lamp. Bodies soft as Q-tips, one alights in your hair, the second settles on the down of my arm.


About Penny Perry

A three time Pushcart nominee, twice for poetry and once for fiction, my stories and poems have been widely published in literary magazines. Fiction Daily tagged my short story “Haunting the Alley,” published online in Literary Mama in August 2011.

My first collection of poetry, Santa Monica Disposal & Salvage, was published in 2012 by Garden Oak Press. The collection earned praise from Marge Piercy, Steve Kowit, Diane Wakoski and Maria Gillan.

I was the fiction editor for Knot Literary Magazine, a Middle Eastern literary journal. I was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute, and my movie A Berkeley Christmas aired on PBS. And, I’ve just completed a novel about a school shooting.

I write under two names, Penny Perry and Kate Harding.

Photo credit: NapInterrupted via a Creative Commons license.