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The Bat

Read by Randall Mann

turned up like an artifact
of our early days,
the time one zipped
into your kitchenless hovel

& you hopped from leg to leg
your coat a white flag
as it flapped along the ceiling.

Now there’s a boy —
& he’s got a whole trove
of darkness & dreads-to-be.

Thus you quash the panic
that bids you run! that warns rabies!
that wonders if it’s big enough
to carry off the cat —

when it finds a perch
above the back door, you show
our boy how it hangs

upside down, explain
that the bat, like any of us,
just wants a warm bed.

You cup it
in gloved hands, as close
as you’ve ever been to the bare nose
of a big brown bat, while he
props open the door,

& together you countdown
then release
the wriggling rocket.

Marie Gauthier is the author of a chapbook, Hunger All Inside (Finishing Line Press, 2009), and recent poems can be read in The MacGuffin, Cave Wall, Hunger Mountain, Magma Poetry, and elsewhere. She won a 2008 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize in addition to Honorable Mention in 2010. She lives with her husband and two young sons in Shelburne Falls, MA where she works for Tupelo Press and co-curates the Collected Poets Series.