The Bat

Kate Gaskin

The flue was closed, the windows shut,

the basement sealed. And yet

it appeared in our bedroom, a velvety

quick flutter of smooth leather, snatch

of dark night, glossy fur, and storybook

webbed wings. I wanted it out

with everything in my body, unable

to bear its frantic circles skimming the air

from bed corner to dresser drawer

to the arch above the window. Name

a revulsion: slithering or buzzing

or skittering or crawling and then add

wings. Remember last summer when we

descended the slick wooden stairs

into the cold water of the cave?

Above us, a whirling constellation of bats.

I want so badly not to fear what I don’t know.

Up close their snouts are canine, their black

eyes unblinkingly sweet and round,

but in the room where we make love

and I nursed our son, I want nothing feral

to breach, no need or desire or demand

to break itself frantically over my head

into wound, bright and wildly beating.


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