The Day of the Moths

Poem by Yvette Naden

The Day of the Moths is a short poem about how I felt when suffering from COVID in May of 2020. I found things I would normally take for granted suddenly difficult: climbing the stairs, for example. Me and my family really struggled with the symptoms and I wrote the poem to reflect on how my body responded.

The Day of the Moths

There are moths in my throat.

Fluttering their tiny wings,

Tickling my trachea.

Their wriggling legs fill my mouth

I try, I really do. Try to tell

Them I might vomit their lovely bodies

Into the sink.

A phoenix dances on my skin.

Fiery, like a tropical breeze

Simmering through my muscles.

You could cut me open,

Scramble eggs on my liver.

A true Full English Breakfast.

My heart gasps as I climb the stairs

to check on Mum. If I had the breath,

I’d laugh. How funny – eighteen and

Wheezing while Mum sits at her desk.

She is a blur. Dad, a thousand miles away,

His head in a bottle, lips nip-tucked by a whisky.

Weeds twist through my lungs, knotting at the spine

Fields rising, my bronchi become blue daisies.

Mayenne – the farm near Brittany,

Where Mum cooked organic prawns over granite

Blindly smiling at me with her black eyes, her split lip

As Dad drove the truck into a wall.

I deflate into a chair, try to read

The words sizzle.

A hot summer’s day in May.

If only I could stand, go out into the

Garden without my brain hovering

And falling into a cadre

Of Forget-Me-Nots.

I forget myself between breaths.


I got COVID a week after my Grandad died. Me and my mother live with my grandparents and when they went into hospital with him (as he was not suffering from COVID-19 but a brain haemorrhage) they came back infected and just before his funeral, I got it too. People my age (16-25) believe COVID won't affect them as much, but they really don't understand how dangerous it is. COVID absolutely flattened me. I suffered with quite harsh symptoms for a week, so I set myself the challenge of writing seven poems in seven days. This is one of those poems (from day 3).