Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 8
Fall 2013

[Two Poems]

by Rae Rose

She’d Wash the Parsley

and I’d ask her to tell me that same story
about the migrant workers.
I’d listen to the water, the drain,
and imagine it.
A dark hum of a helicopter,
like a giant hand rustling the trees,
sapotes falling
and then

ankles and wrists through dry grasses
of mustard weed and the wet, slick
sky which you learn to run under.
They crossed the deep palm
of our sandy canyon
where red ants slept
and the light of the helicopter
zapped the hillside.

Sometimes my mother was a saint.

She ran outside in her apron,
waving her wet hands
like an orchestra conductor,
directing them to safety.


—Previously published in Contemporary World Literature (Issue 5, February 2011) and Cicada Magazine (Volume 13, Issue 2, November 2010)


A Moth Dies at a Bed & Breakfast

Brushing my teeth,
I see her, lying on the floor
on her back, arms twitching—
are they arms?
They’re not arms. 

Gold and billowy,
her wings unable to lift her,
I hold a piece of paper up to her hands—
they’re not hands.

She can’t hold on. 
I watch her struggle
as if she is treading water,
but it is air she once conquered,
it is only air. 

Do I kill her?

I lie down as the bathroom gets bigger,
my cheek on the cold wood floor.
Do I crush her? That sound—there will be a sound. 

Yes, the bathroom is bigger.
My family is there, the bullies are there—
you are delicate,
you are female,
unable to save anyone.

White ceiling like moon glow, 
tree limbs behind glass,
this is what she sees and does not understand.
This is someone else’s design. 

In the country my mother and I saved moths. 
One city night I saved a moth from my apartment
and a neighbor, walking his dog, asked me what I was doing.
“Saving a moth,” I said. 
“From what?”

I look back at her. She is still.
It is over. 

My breath makes her look 
as if she is fluttering
into the plastic cup.

Like stones I found at the bay,
she is gold with green freckles.
I see every detail too closely.

I check the hall and tiptoe out.
I do not want the woman 
who runs the Bed & Breakfast to see her,
and somehow feel at fault.



SHJ Issue 8
Fall 2013

Rae Rose

is a poet, writer and activist. Her book, Bipolar Disorder For Beginners, will be published by Garden Oak Press in October, 2013. Her blog appears at:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury