Trish Delaney: Mottephobia

First you feel them writhe

as they feed in your sleep:

peccadilloes furrowing —

wriggling through the mind’s

mire, burrowing deeper

every night…until

they metamorphose,


A sensory deluge of hair,

dust, and scales

flutters, — no strikes —

at the back of your throat

and can’t be coughed away.

You’ll wake from choking

on their powdery residue.


You drink your coffee so strong

that you’re sick—smoke

your scut-bitten nails yellow,

and keep a candle lighted

to burn them wing by wing.

Tonight’s fight is over but

you still can’t shake their taste.


Don’t look in the mirror

while you brush your teeth.

Daylight isn’t all it seems;

something twitches in your optic nerves

controlling your every blink:

it’s the moths flitting back and forth

puncturing the darkness of your pupils…


that’s how they escape your dreams



Trish Delaney is originally from Wexford but currently lives in Dublin where she works in programmatic ad operations for an Irish advertising agency. She writes her poetry as an escape from the world of maths and calculations that dominate her working day. Some of her previous work has been published in Skylight 47,,, Oddball Magazine and as poem of the week on 

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