unveil themselves in dark. They hang, each a jagged, silken sleeve, from moonlit rafters bright as polished knives. They swim the muddled air and keen like supersonic babies, the sound we imagine empty wombs might make in women who can’t fill them up. A clasp, a scratch, a sigh. They drink fruit dry. And wheel, against feverish light flung hard upon their faces, in circles that nauseate. Imagine one at breast or neck, Patterning a name in driblets of iodine that spatter your skin stars. They flutter, shake like mystics. They materialize. Revelatory as a stranger’s underthings found tossed upon the marital bed, you tremble even at the thought. Asleep, you tear your fingers and search the sheets all night.
From The Invention of the Kaleidoscope by Paisley Rekdal, © 2007. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Paisley Rekdal is the author of six volumes of poetry, most recently Nightingale (Copper Canyon Press, 2019). An inaugural Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, Rekdal is the Guest Editor for Poem-a-Day in December 2019. She is the Poet Laureate of Utah and lives in Salt Lake City.
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/bats