Ode to Sitting in a Booth
It’s the closest thing to a cave. I have to resist
this wild urge to carve a name or word in it.
My favorite way to sit here is with cold vodka
& grapefruit juice & whatever bitter concoction
you’re sipping. Under the table I’ll nudge you
with my heels—a sign no stalactite or dripstone
will stop us. Bats do not require any energy
to claw-dangle upside down. All they need
is to relax & gravity & there’s plenty of both
swirling to go around. No matter how loud
this bar, within these three walls we can drop
straight into a very electric flight. We can
pretend we don’t answer to anyone–including
the waitress–& no one even knows where we are.
Copyright © 2021 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 26, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“I wrote this after a visit to the Memphis Zoo (during pre-pandemic times) and I was watching Egyptian fruit bats sleep in the 'Animals of the Night' exhibit. I knew that bats can hang upside down because their body weight keeps their claws closed so they can relax, drift to sleep, and dangle—but that was the first time I could see this with the bats up close. And when I was writing, I just wanted to capture again the feeling of being in a restaurant—feeling carefree—for just a moment.”
Date Published: 2021-03-26
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/ode-sitting-booth