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In Madagascar there are moths that sip
tears from sleeping birds. How hushed the wing;
how light the feet; and deft the barbeled tip,
latching the lid! The sleeper feels no sting:

saliva numbs the nerves. A virus goes
from host to host, and when it multiplies
the bird will die. No field researcher knows
its course, which I have glimpsed in Gaia’s eyes.
Goddess, you have drunk too many tears,
and I shall worship you no more. Your drug
ceases to numb my hopes or soothe my fears
that something else exists beyond your bug
and bird-the Lord all beings dimly seek
incarnates in your realm of claw and beak.