today a moth
was in my hat
when I put it on

my summer straw sombrero,

in which I pretend I’m Don Quixote,
especially on an August afternoon
when the world outside tilts to the sun,

while my world below the brim
is cool and dim
and occupied by me alone,

usually, but today this tickle,
this frightened telegraph in my hair,
this white moth,

who escaping quivered angrily,
eye to eye,
just to say that it was
me who disturbed him,

wings thinner than a page
and really not so much
pure white

but more like fine ash
spread on a saucer
of milk


Josh Parish‘s writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from Rattle, The Pinch, Tupelo Quarterly, Hippocampus, and elsewhere. He received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Washington, where his collection of short stories, Hardest Weather in the World, won the David Guterson Award. He teaches English at TCC.

Bennie Herron’s creative output in poetry, painting, and social advocacy reflects on the often-paradoxical conditions of being. His poetry presents a prismatic lens on his upbringing as a Black man, including close observations of the familial, interpersonal, and cultural forces that have shaped him. In these poems, the anecdotal may expand into ruminations on Biblical passages, or tales of the trials and joys of his adolescence may give way to fiery indictments of systemic problems such as racism, colonialism, and the perceptions of Black men in society. Herron’s verse style is informed in part by the socially conscious Hip Hop artists of the 1990s and poets of the Black Arts Movement of the late 1960s, among a myriad of other sources.