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Arlene Ang decorative flourish The Moth Maiden

It snowed the whole night.

A caustic gale permeated windows,

swirled winter inside the flat.

There was no telling what she would do.

Home sweet home, I shivered under quilt.

Against Mother!’s strict instructions,

I housed her sister for the week.

There was no bad blood between us:

tangerine objects, playing with matches

held the same attraction as gentlemen in red.

Her movements clattered in the kitchen.

The cat screeched, smoke alarm.

Grabbing a fuchsia robe, I found Aunt Matilda

before the stove, her eyes mesmerized

by the fire circles she had ignited.

She asked if I needed warming up,

there were extra lighters in her purse.

As a child, she reminisced coming home

to Grandma, a docile ember wrapped in cloth

to warm her hands. Cold did so terrify her.

That night I wrapped her in goosedown,

full-blasted the house with electric heaters.

Next morning the inspector knocked thrice;

there were witnesses to arson. Helpless,

I watched the handcuffs turn her skin blue.

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Arlene Ang lives in Venice, Italy where she edits the Italian Niederngasse. Her poetry has recently been published in Eclectica, Mudlark, Poet!’s Canvas, Tattoo Highway and Amarillo Bay. An e-chapbook of her poetry, Dirt Therapy, is being hosted by Slow Trains.