Ken Howe

The Bat House

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1. The bat at least as scared as I was
erupting out of the ceiling
I groped for a weapon a tennis racket a ping
pong paddle a shovel.

My feet described a boxstep
recalled from ninth grade
phys. ed. My
back bucked, I swung
what proved (on closer examination) to be
a badminton racket (needing stringing) which
the bat easily eluded
feinting towards my hair

—bats have no interest in hair of course,
but this bat seemed uninformed on that score,
swooping like a barnswallow, but

missing my crown
through a counterswoop of my own,
an East Coast swing with a
sprig of Laendler, a back step
behind the rolled rug, an
underarm-turn toward a light switch--the
bat beleaguering me from behind all the while until I I
swung again
for the light switch-splat!
emitting a volley of lumens which drove
out the door the bat,
to evap-
into the night.


2. The cross-section of the lamps along the lakes:





3. As the dark glacier of night comes on, miniature
icebergs feather off and wriggle themselves into seals,
frolicking in the waters of dusk,
feinting at moths beneath the eaves.

This is how darkness twinkles—
capering through the air like an incarnate
attention deficit, facets of light's absence glittering at
random along the no-longer-obvious border
between gloam and my
southern stucco wall.

4. The window bat, the
caged-school-securitywindow bat
wrapped like a burrito in its
black leather bomber jacket.

hanging out by the school grounds,
hat pulled low to disguise his
little ferret face.

The recess children gather round
but he stays poker faced,
plays his cards close to the vest
until, a prodding stick and a
mean grade sixer's stone drive
him upward to wire fight, float like a burnt newspaper,
scramble into the air along byzantine paths,
clutching suit bag and carry-on in his
black gloved
                                  and panicked hands.

5. Bats are crepuscular. The vampire

of Minerva flies at dusk.


Soap flakes of darkness settling
                       into the washbasin of the yard.

The bats emerging from winter storage—
rows of torpid fur trimmed coats,
clipped to their hangers,
            testing their struts and membranes.

And the bat guano kneedeep on the cavern floor.

A bat house (conservatory) can be ordered from
The Real Goods at 1-800-762-7325.