“Winter Moth”

A Poem by Dan Chiasson

October 1, 2020  By Dan Chiasson

winter moth I put your body on

and I was happy with the armor

flight was both possible and necessary

since I was light, brittle and miniature


flight was both happy and panicky

now that I was inside your body

my awareness stretching far beyond

my wingspan and erratic decision-making pattern


I was now entirely akin to myself

now I resembled myself both inside and out

who’s the guy with the new temporality

of a moth’s life, only a day or two


in his resplendent, powdery body

before annihilation minus zero

when January in one enormous puff

exhaled ice across the landscape?


Dan Chiasson, The Math Campers

Excerpt from THE MATH CAMPERS by Dan Chiasson. Copyright © 2021 by Dan Chiasson. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 

Dan Chiasson
Dan Chiasson
Dan Chiasson is the author of four previous collections of poetry, most recently Bicentennial, and a book of criticism, One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America. He is the poetry critic for The New Yorker. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Whiting Writers Award, Chiasson is the Lorraine C. Wang Professor of English at Wellesley College, and lives in Massachussetts.

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