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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Dellos

The Polyphemus Moth Lands on Carmina Magazine

Here is an excerpt from a short story, The Polyphemus Moth, I wrote for the September 2022 issue of Carmina Magazine.

I. Portend

There it is right outside my back door. I almost don’t see it mixed in with the leaves and the bramble. It is month four of COVID, and I am unemployed. I lost my profitable PR job after months of working long hours managing crisis communications for the company. It’s a huge dead moth with eyes on its wings, both beautiful and gruesome.

“It’s a Polyphemus Moth. The Antheraea polyphemus is one of our largest and most beautiful silk moths,” I read out loud from Google.

“As a tattoo, a moth serves as a harbinger of change and an omen of regeneration." —

It is the night of the Sturgeon Moon, a signal the summer days will soon drift away, leaving us to the wintering, forcing us to go deep inside ourselves. I enter the small studio. Jared, the tattoo artist, has arresting blue eyes and salt-and-pepper hair.

For the complete short story, please go to .


Author's note

The day after I was laid off from my corporate job, a perfectly preserved moth found its way to my doorstep. It was a Polyphemus Moth. It had large eyes on its wings and was named after the Cyclops. In Greek mythology, the Cyclops made a deal with Hades, God of the underworld, and traded one eye for the ability to see the future. For the next year, this moth became a totem for me and all the changes that life would toss my way—a pandemic, my mother's death, and the decision to go back to grad school at the ripe old age of 49. Mythology not only gives us a blueprint for storytelling but a way to understand and make sense of our lives. I was so pleased that this piece found a home with Carmina magazine because this story helped me understand my life, my modern-day myth in the making.


About Carmina Magazine

Named after the Latin word for "songs" or "poems", Carmina Magazine offers a place where mythology and modern creativity can come together as one.

For generations, writers, artists, and creators have turned towards mythological traditions for inspiration. Carmina Magazine aims to showcase how the stories of the past are still creatively relevant in the modern day, possessing a timeless ability to enthrall, enchant, and inspire long after their initial genesis.

Carmina Magazine is edited by Rhysling Award-nominated writer Clarabelle Miray Fields, who fell in love with ancient stories as a small child living in and traveling around Turkey. Fascinated by the myths of Troy (modern-day Hisarlık, Turkey), she went on to earn a BA in classical languages (2018, summa cum laude) and study in the U.K. as a Fulbright Summer Institute participant. An avid writer as well as reader, her work has been published over 100 times in print and online. She currently works as a web developer and system admin, with Carmina being one of several websites she maintains.

For more details, visit

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