We Share the Same Skin
poem by ZenChristian Mott
I believe that in his past life
my older brother was a moth
that they share the same skin sleep when the sun is awake
& active in the dark, navigates angles of moonlight
but when man made lights interfere
my brother like moths get confused & distracted
by artificial glows emitting from his computer screen.
build cocoons until ready to enter the world
but others will burrow underground
until they mature into adults. When my father
left after the divorce, my brother retreated
lived his life out of the confines
of his room burrowed into the uncertainty
of what it means to be a man. In my past life
I was a butterfly. We share the same skin
They are important to the little things in life, like flowers & weeds
like I’m important to the little things life like family and friendships.
We’re always awake flying through sunrays
but resting at night underneath the moon. We have a normal
sleep cycle, so the rest of us must be as normal
as people see us.
My whole life my brother & I have been deemed opposites
by nature family saying he’ll never amount
to anything but you have the entire world in your hands
he’s too reserved yet you’re so outgoing
you’d think the way they compare us that we ain’t
family like we don’t come from the same womb.
The way moths & butterflies are never seen as related
but they come from the order “Lepi-dop-tera” meaning scales & wings
the way my brother and I come
from the same
scars & wounds. People ask me:
Is he slow? Why doesn’t he say much?
Does he have friends or ever come outside?
My response is: Don’t you know some moths live
their best lives inside of a home? Because it’s safer
than being attacked on the street?
My mother calls his hole limbo.
Says he’s cold
blooded. Got demons sleeping in him
beneath his ribcage but we share the same skin, so I know
his demons better than him, they are rejected light &
he bares so much in him because moths
are only cold blooded when stationary. It’s when they take flight
that it becomes warm. He doesn’t deem his inner glow
worthy enough to navigate his life by &
I see his confusion when the light starts to bulge
through his skin. Like growing pains. Like getting to know
yourself. Like accepting yourself. But how can anyone expect
a moth to find its way to the sun if it’s never seen light’s
face before? Our mother designed him the path but our father
never cared enough to show him
how to navigate it.
But I’ve always been my brother’s keeper, keeping him
from running into the porch light, the computer screen
on the nights I break
my sleep cycle, burrow myself into the ground just to witness his laughter break
His smile becoming the strongest force
to light up the sky. No one sees
him, but I do
because like moths and butterflies
the same skin.
About the poet
ZenChristian Mott is a 23-year-old poet, spoken word artist and instructor. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia but Florida, specifically Jacksonville and Tampa have become home. ZenChristian is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida with a BA in Psychology and Creative Writing. In 2016 she started slamming at Wespoke Slam Show in Tampa and went on to make the 2017 slam team. In the summer of 2017, she traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam and to Denver, Colorado for the National Poetry Slam. Wespoke is currently ranked 12th in the region and 13th in the nation. ZenChristian finished out her last semester of undergrad as President of the most diverse open mic on campus called The Poets at USF. Now she works for the university and is one of the two 2018 Writing Trainers for Heard Em Say Teen Poetry here in Tampa, FL.