Dance of the Bat People

Dance of the Bat People

by Taryn Muldoon


When a bat falls from the sky
when it is torn from the arteries of the night
it is a sheaf of darkness flayed from the smooth muscles of time
caught like a curled leaf

nobody expects to find a bat on the ground
in daytime
nobody expects to find capillaries of the sky
spurting on their doorstep

you can read a human’s heart
not by what they choose to kill
but by who they do not let die

we gathered them
limp bodies ripped loose from darkness
squeaking their outrage at the dawn

ready to heal with open chests
and all the blood in our fingers

 ready to give everything

nobody expects to find a lover
when they were looking for a bat
when they scan the ground for curled leaves of forgotten night
they forget how soft the hands of light are

the gifts time can give
in the struggle for life between death

nobody notices
when two girls fall in love
as nobody sees
the bat tumbling from the sky

as they fall, remember with each sucking breath
those pups tucked into their chests
how many hours it takes in the lonely night
to convince torn babies           soft hands and
a paintbrush
can stop this feeble wail against the lonely dawn

nobody thinks
of how lost a heart gets
searching for the night
aching with dark and the rasp of tiny lungs
fingers burying bodies of soft skin and quiet wing
beneath soil heavy with the pull of departed lives
or else standing alone as they lift away
solitary stars rising into the sky

nobody remembers the way it feels
the first time you hold her
she is the sky above you and your wings are wide
aching to rise into the smoke and silver
of her hair

the first day the bat eats a mealworm
shivering jaw and wings like twigs
almost strong
you cry
from joy          or sorrow
as you imagine darkness
stitched together
reunited with the sky

her hands move over your back
her mouth on yours
you curl your fingers together
feel time unwrapping itself from your shoulders
she is laughter and wrists and gentle breath
for the first time
you look up from the bats, see her face
and forget to breathe


you love her
open chest
and fingers filled with beating blood

ready to give everything

fly into her arms
raise your hands and realize
you were born for this life
born for this gushing breath
this pulse like a wild wind
laughter bubbling up from the veins 

they rejoined the dance of night
moon echoing over their heads
as the mornings they stole from the neck of death

you danced with her
cresting into her sky
wings beating boldly
Name it.

name it love
a capillary of the night
woven into her chest

you rise
flickering into dusty sky
darkness knitting
pulses winking
like stars