A g a i n, B a t s
Falling like chunks of night,
unhinged from the air like shingles
in a wind storm, the bats
swim the dark vein of summer
over our heads. They can count
all the nightmares that have
bubbled up our throats,
leaving us awake in our beds,
eyes wide with assurance
that their toothy gaze was reading
our necks. Too afraid
to turn on the lights, sweat
down our backs was the only
river of escape.
But now, we say we know better.
They are our friends. They are
mosquito herders, who are a more
real annoyance, anyway.
We laugh when sitting on
the screened-in porch how we thought
they could be pulled like sonar
into our date’s golden hair,
weaving their thick bodies
into the roots like a cap.
Yes, you’ll know all these stories
are foolish are you tromp
through the woods, searching
for pink lady slipper, sun crackling
through the leaves.
And when you climb a small hill,
picking one more flower to make
an even dozen, you will see a smaller
opening in an overhang that you didn’t
notice before; just wide enough
for the head and shoulders. Hoping
for maybe forgotten arrowheads,
you peer in, and that’s when
you’ll her a whole symphony
of leather hands clapping.
Your mouth will unlatch,
and here they will come,
with their lipless grins focused
on your eyes. Their cloaks,
their warm cloaks opening
as if to say,
“Let us show you
the failures of your life.”