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The Happening - Stephen Mead

(For Joan Didion's Charlotte)


There was the shattering and moth wings drifting,

drifting glitter in hair, the moth wings caught

in the chiffon net of a gown. This napkin

collected webbed particles, let them

fall in that lap.


Someone was dreaming.


I didn't know how much I could love

the movement of moths. They attacked

the kerosene lamp set in the center

of the table, obsessed with its chimney,

the crisp intense heat.


They seemed earnest in ignition.

They kept pelting and pelting to achieve

a way out. Then, completely singed,

they snared themselves, broken barnacles,

to sea weed tresses of hair.


They burst upon lashes, crept behind lids.

They descended as the silt of fall out,

the satin wisps of exploded pillow stuffing.


I shut my eyes.


Now again there's these wings, these stunning dead things to sift.

They blanket days, wipe out memory,

the one of that night, that irrevocable event I played no part in,

was not a witness of. There is no trace

in my mind of what was said or what was done.


There are only the moths…the moths upon the glass,

and the wings, the wings brushing and fluttering against my skirt, in my hair.

I am in shock and sometimes forget that I too was there and it was not just a dream


I can't quite remember,

but something that happened,

something real.


Bio:

Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer.  Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online.  He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chroma Museum

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