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The Bat by Porch Light

by Sandra McPherson

Night, when I was flying across
the sleep of other lives,
your pet reached out and snagged me
from the balcony, in the web of my cape . . .

This gore lays itself out for your lionheart,
who feels less companionless
nosing over the mousy
bird of me.

I feel, just behind the right shoulder, clean teeth
become my own spare bones,
a synchronous skeleton.

We live together briefly, the tom whispering
in my ear, me tolling
a squeal.

But the arrest weighs on me.
Night’s old neatness mussed. Here I am
indoors, bleeding all over the house-
mistress’s books, everything I knew forever
jounced from place, my slant on things

flattening to the floor. A kind neighbor
drowns me. Phoenix sloshing in a pail.
He drops me on a glacier.

I await the county man
who picks up iced identities.
Death is my address
on the flyway to South America.
And my sound—
like hair after hair uniting on a cat’s back—
migrates among the rabid searchers,
who will find out
I was well.
As is, therefore, your treasured


Sandra McPherson's ninth collection of poems is A Visit to Civilization (Wesleyan University Press, 2002). She teaches at the University of California at Davis. Her Swan Scythe Press ( recently published its twenty-fifth chapbook. (4/2006)

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