Bats Above a Shallow Lake


Bats dip and flit like chubby butterflies
dark with deadly aim at unseen prey
above the glassy surface of the lake
tattered skin-wings soundless in their flight.

Late in evening gloam the mere reflects
distant cerulean-sienna sky
amaranth embers of the fiery west
and dusty burnt umber of watching woods
carmine coral shadows in its shallows.

Swiftly scribing angled lines, capricious
curves, cursive unknown languages of need
that nearly intersect but never do;
instinctive calculus of sonar sense
and deft abruptions avert collisions.

Membraned hands’ inter-webbed mercurial
claws form skin-scoop deathtraps for insects
cup-to-mouth dippers for quenching thirst
and touch-points with the mirror of the water.

Reflections cast in smoke-red twilight tarn
are brighter than the silhouettes that fly
in tandem with their water-selves below
separate as they rise, then reunite
in single shapes at the instant they swoop
and touch their tail-tips to the water’s face
so solid-seeming when so still, yet soft;
water-skin disturbed not penetrated
as twin semicircles, kiss-print ripples
flash and fade in a single beat of wing.