Thursday, May 31, 2007


That summer, we worried about bats.
Word was they took up residence in the attic,
sleeping days and crawling out at dusk
to streak across the sky, making small kills:
moths, spiders, creatures no less liable
to urge a certain kind of mind to hysteria.
One phobia flying to consume another.

Nights became tense, eyeing with suspicion
the slats of the square door above the hallway.
Their miniature bones were pliable, I read,
allowing passage through the smallest chink.

Concern was gorged with facts. I digested
sleeping patterns, species, gross anatomy,
any concrete knowledge that might appease
the brimming emptiness of what was possible.

Our thoughts turned to disease; an infected one
could bite an exposed ankle while we slept,
its fangs so delicate, like pins or splinters,
the rabid twinge would likely go unnoticed.

Some days I was sure I had it, staying in
to brood on my demise while the sun blazed,
vampire-like. Every ache was an ill omen,
every scratch in the throat a death sentence.

One night, alone in bed, I could have sworn
I woke to sudden wing bursts, little explosions
of air and muscle passing near the ceiling.

Slipping from the sheets, I put my head
into what seemed a lion’s maw, our closet.
I agitated shirts, my senses straining
toward something closer to what is natural
for the thing I hunted, and found nothing.

It was later, after our fears had gone cold,
that it happened. The initial shock was mutual,
one had tucked itself into the interstice
between the screen and windowsill. The noise
was like the cry of a feral child, alarming
helplessness. We watched it struggle upward,
cling with hooks behind the glass and fold
into a rabbit’s foot, dark-furred, suspended
from the lip of the window, a dormant charm.