Meaning

“…What can
it mean, significance minus
meaning?” ~ J. Allyn Rosser

At dusk, as if it were a question
of life or death or the first
paragraph in an existential novel,
moths hurl their soft bodies against
the storm door. Lit up by porch lamps,
it glows like an electric field,
pulsing bars the color of melted
honey. Even the small checkerboard
beetles that usually sit like red
and yellow enamel pins on the siding
want to edge closer to this brightness.
The last time I tapped the lantern’s
glass cup upside down to clean it,
a dry rain of papery wings unfastened
—so many acts of significance or
insignificance, depending on how
you look at it. Like that day
in a high school literature class
when, to teach about metaphor,
the teacher made us file one by one
to the front of the room and look
at a poorly drawn watercolor pressed
under glass on her desk. Some girls
gushed about the strength and longevity
of rock; only one said it was just
a picture of mountains and trees.

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