By Megan Denton Ray
My grandmother visits me from heaven
in the form of patient and complicated insects. Once
in the spring, she was the mustard
and copper-speckled imperial moth, perched
proudly on my pointer finger. The next day,
she was the spotty white tiger moth, surprising
in her symmetry. Each day that week
I found a different luna moth somewhere
in the mountains without even looking. One
with her legs crossed, dead and perfect
in that gravel driveway. New day, new bug.
This is how it went. Here I am in Indiana,
400 miles from home. My grandmother
is here, and she is not beautiful. All summer,
she’s been the front porch spider, the furry-bellied
breath of some celestial garden. I have named her
Angelica. By day, she lives on the inside edge
of my grandmother’s wind chime—a heavy
greenish iron—patina, inherited. Only
the biggest winds can shake her. Each night,
I watch from the window as she builds her web
in the corner of the porch. New night, new web.
This is how it goes. Angelica has found me. Her body
is brown and round. Outside my window,
her pointy fingers take the night apart, bit by bit,
so I can sleep. It’s autumn now, turning hard to winter.
And I watch Angelica jolt inside her giant web.
She knows that the end is near, but she keeps weaving.
Crab apple, chokecherry, sour grapes. She unfurls
her eight limbs and spits curses at the sky.
Megan Denton Ray received her MFA from Purdue University. Her work has appeared recently or soon in The Sun, Salt Hill Journal, Cimarron Review, The Adroit Journal, Radar Poetry, and elsewhere. She currently lives and teaches in Tennessee.
Cover image by Michael Podger.
Belt Magazine is a nonprofit organization. To support more independent writing and journalism by and for the Rust Belt and greater Midwest, make a donation, or become a member starting at just $5 a month.