Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 5 No. 2 | Summer 1983 (Seattle) /// Issue 4 of 24 /// Master# 4 of 24

By Lisa Kinoshita Drawing by Liza Jones A gain, I’m slumped by mama’s bed, half-awake. Or half-dreaming, to the whir of a fan or mothwings. It’s deep night, hot, and the moths are back in swarms. With the fall of night hundreds of moths fly, chopping the burdensome dark. They cut the heat in a pale flurry, ceaseless. The moths breathe through their wings, mama says, and fly therefore to stay cool, for in this heat, they could go up like flash paper. (But why then do they seek her fires? Sometimes fly too close?) They beat against the window and cloud the porchlight on wings of tattered silk. Males will drift on a single particle of female scent hundreds of miles away, I hear. Maybe they home on mama’s incense, or on the secret honey of plums and melons — the emanations of pa’s boxed fruit twining a rope of smells sharp as spilt perfume. Though he no longer grows it, the goods in pa’s stand are finer than anything at the supermarket. That produce smells like nothing; boys in green aprons hose it down, spending the odors. There’s good smells, like that of fresh-turned soil and some women, then there’s stink, like that of dog, which mama can’t abide. Mama cannot stand to have the spaniels 22 Clinton St. Quarterly