Poetry May 2005

Bat

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        I remember the Sierra pond
where at evening bats went dipping,
        pilgrims with sharp chins dipping
to holy water, preying
        on mosquitoes as if praying.
I watched them, envying their purpose,
        wanting at twenty some purpose.
Snap the hatchling as it rises,
        skim the darkness as it rises.
I wanted that perfected arc,
        hunting life along an arc,
both creature and creator.

        What is it now about the creature
appearing at a sudden angle,
        wavering through dusk, angel
of hunger at the night's rim,
        like a card flicked at a hat brim?
Now I read it like an icon
        blinking on a screen and con
something there that's meaningful,
        a little void that's never full.

 

Mark Jarman teaches at Vanderbilt University. His latest collection is To the Green Man.
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