Many years ago, when I lived on the shores of Blackwattle Bay, a big triangular tapestry moth appeared one day in my apartment. It settled on the glass of a print, in the white between frame and image, and seemed to have chosen this spot deliberately to augment that austere work with its damascene opulence. When I looked more closely however, I could see its wings were frayed at the tips and edges, that the dust of its camouflage was thinning, falling. The moth disappeared as silently, invisibly, as it appeared; but in each subsequent place I lived for the next twenty years—I can think of eight apparitions—another tapestry moth would unpredictably appear then disappear just as this one did, every one with its wings thinned to a whisper; so that I came to think that each must also leave behind the spore of the next somewhere amongst my small collection of things. This came to an end, or so I thought, five years ago. I went overseas, returned, moved again, abandoning almost all of my possessions, along with the moth and the moth’s memory. And yet ... the other day when I went out my front door in the morning, there was a tapestry moth fluttering in the stairwell. It had been settled, my opening door disturbed it. I watched its agitation for some time, waiting for it to come to rest; it seemed particularly attracted to the bland dark brown wood of my front door but could not, in that superstitious way moths have, bring itself to alight there. I looked for it when I returned but it was not to be found. Then, yesterday, happening to glance up as I went into my study, I saw a tapestry moth on the cream-pink wall above the door, with its intricately patterned wings, its red false eyes, its feathered antennae, its miraculous dust. It too was thinned and frayed, it too was just a whisper in the face of invisibility. Today it was gone as if it had never been, leaving only a trace of Keats—deep-damask'd wings—on the air. And, though this may be both fanciful and entomologically incorrect, the spore of its heir somewhere among my books.

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