This is not a poem about a dead bat.
You know, the one that was on the telegraph wires
just outside our house and I joked to the neighbour about “our new pet”
and today it fell down, flat on its back,
its dragon wings not quite clasped anymore
its little claws not quite clasped anymore
and looking down at it (advised not to touch)
a little piece of me came unclasped too.
Our new pet, who we assumed had been pigging out on our pears,
may never have been alive from when I first saw it
just as we were all hopping in the car and about to drive to orchestra.
I saw it hanging there and said “Wow! Kids! Look! A bat!”
And we all got out of the car again and peered up against the glaring grey
trying to see more than just black, to see a face, to get a picture.
But we had to go and when we got home it was still there
and when it rained, pelted for a while, it was still there
and I joked that the wings were as good as a raincoat
because it didn’t move a muscle. “It’s a good sleeper” I said.
This morning, it was still there and I started wondering,
thinking it a bit odd, checking on it through the window. And then,
when I was dusting and outside everything was skittering with breezes,
I saw it on the ground, flat on its back, looking as dead as 50cm of bat can look
from twenty metres away. We all went out, curious about it,
about its appearance, about any evidence of why it had fallen.
It was dead. That’s about all I can tell you. And my son said
“Maybe it’s not dead. Its eyes are open.” I bent down to look
and they looked like soft toy eyes, all glass and blindness.
“You can die with your eyes open,” I said.
And suddenly I was so sad. The upside down
open-eyed creature with the orange ruff around its neck.
Dying there with its black raincoat and a
human circus below. You can die with your eyes open.
But this is not a poem about a dead bat.