Love is a Luminous Insect at the Window

Martín Espada

          For Lauren Marie Espada

The word love: there it is again, indestructible as an insect,
fly faster than the swatter, mosquito darting through the net.
How the word love chirps in every song, crickets keeping
a city boy up all night. I wish I could fry and eat them.
How the word love buzzes in sonnet after sonnet. I am
the beekeeper who wakes from a nightmare of beehives.
To quote Durán, the Panamanian brawler who waved a glove
and walked away in the middle of a fight: No más. No more.

Then I see you, watching the violinist, his eyes shut, the Russian
composer’s concerto in his head, white horse hair fraying on the bow,
and your face is bright with tears, and there it is again, the word love,
not a fly or a mosquito, not a cricket or a bee, but the Luna moth
we saw one night, luminous green wings knocking at the screen
on the window as if to say I have a week to live, let me in, and I do.



Martín Espada

Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published almost twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems from Norton is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). Other books of poems include The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), Alabanza (2003), A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (2000), Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993) and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (1990). His many honors include the 2018 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston’s Latino community, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Header image by Evie Shaffer