My Father Returns as a Luna Moth

Mark Jarman

My father returns as a luna moth,
a green hand under the porch light.
He comes back as a tree frog on the kitchen window,
blown there by the storm overnight.My father returns as a red wasp
and the venom she sticks in my knee.
He sleeps in a paper capsule
of the nest under the eave.And back he comes as a file of old letters,
angry, commonplace, merry and grim,
airmail flimsy, stationery stiff,
from him to me, me to him.He returns as hymn tunes and cuff links,
a diamond pinky ring that won’t fit.
He looks out as the passage from Micah engraved
on his columbarium niche.“Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.”
He’s there in a kiss with sealed lips.
He’s reborn as the o-gape of his last breath,
in the solar eclipse.One day his signs and wonders
may no longer make me think twice.
Will he ever stop returning?
Not in my life.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print

Mark Jarman’s latest collection of poetry is The Heronry (Sarabande Books, 2017). He is Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

The Hudson Review

Autumn 2018

New York, New York

Paula Deitz

Founding Editor
Frederick Morgan (1922-2004)

Managing Editor
Ronald Koury

Associate Editor
Zachary Wood

Assistant Editor
Eileen Talone

Founded in 1948, The Hudson Review is a quarterly magazine of literature and the arts published in New York City. Frederick Morgan, one of its founding editors, edited the magazine for its first fifty years. Paula Deitz has been the editor since 1998.

Since its beginning, the magazine has dealt with the area where literature bears on the intellectual life of the time and on diverse aspects of American culture. It has no university affiliation and is not committed to any narrow academic aim or to any particular political perspective. The magazine serves as a major forum for the work of new writers and for the exploration of new developments in literature and the arts. It has a distinguished record of publishing little-known or undiscovered writers, many of whom have become major literary figures. Each issue contains a wide range of material including: poetry, fiction, essays on literary and cultural topics, book reviews, reports from abroad, and chronicles covering film, theatre, dance, music and art. The Hudson Review is distributed in twenty-five countries.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.