At the door to the den, my son smirks at midnight.
Leaving me aghast, he ducks away,
as in wide flops the wingspan of a bat fills
the hallway. Soon the living room is all about its
loopy orbit and dives for closeness.
Once, it leaves a flutter on my forehead.
If the bat had opened a door for me, I’d have taken it.
Finally, it breaks its own enchantment
and vanishes, tucked perhaps into a curtain pleat
or wedged to fill that curvature where a wheel
of the piano bends from the floor. I go to bed
but reel, then wake with my feet exposed
beyond the sheet. In the living room, the bat hangs
from a paint globule on the popcorn ceiling.
For a half hour, my tennis racket is after its rattle.
Finally, I hurl him, stunned, into the bushes.
Itching soon discovers puffs on my ankles—
four perfect pairs from the night before
when my feet poked out the end of the bed.
No insect, I decide, is so patterned, so mathematical.
It’s then I know that I am the bat’s brother.
Soon, a christening occurs in a sterile office
from a man in white vestments, vials in his hand.
The next day, when the window shade slips
from my wife’s hand, the hard snap of its mad roll-up
gets something in my blood flapping,
and for an instant it’s me unfolding, flying—
avoiding echoes of my own life bouncing back at me.
Rodney Torreson, poet laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2007-2010, Rodney Torreson’s latest book of poetry, THE JUKEBOX WAS THE JURY OF THEIR LOVE, was issued by Finishing Line Press in 2019. His poems have appeared in ARTFUL DODGE, LOUISVILLE REVIEW, MIRAMAR, POET LORE, SEATTLE REVIEW, THIRD COAST, and TAR RIVER REVIEW.