Lymantriidae: family of moths, many of its component species referred to as Tussock moths; Lymantria means “defiler”.
Before Todos los Santos, the Day
of the Dead, armed with whitewash,
buckets, and brooms we visit
the graves of our dearly departed,
to clear the gathered debris of
the previous year— dry leaves
and bracken pushing up through
cracked concrete, bits of amber-
colored glass from broken Cerveza
Negra bottles. Someone’s grand-
father’s grave has been spray-painted
with graffiti; and the stone cherubs’
wings have been chipped for sport.
What do we know of eternity? What
could we do to stave off the hardening
froth of days? In the groves of trees,
above rows of headstones, cicadas rub
their tymbals and sing their heated songs
of courtship. Two months later, all of them
will die, leaving behind eggs that will emerge
in seventeen years. Among the skeletal branches,
the tussock moth caterpillar is busily at work.
For every mouthful of leaf, a tufted crown; red-
light glands on its back signaling imminent
danger: dazzling mystery: inevitable conclusion.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.