Will Cordeiro: Bats
Inside the cave the whole horde’s hung.
Asleep, they’re like a butchers’ rack of meat;
newborns dangling inside thin wings’
furred sacs, they wake—pulse—squirm.
Stalagmites bud with drips. A tunnel chokes,
a ragged snag rips out its gaping mouth:
smug, crinkled mugs all snuffle up, up
into the shrieking light to seek the thrill,
the thrall of blood. Stained evening ravens
down a wrinkled brainwave’s cloud-ravine.
The bats swim heaven’s airy flesh, pressed
so flush you’d think it flayed. Each witch raids
the excess recesses of space, switchblades;
whipsaws: dark paper dolls, which scissor-
slip a self-made maze, tilt off, loft up; crizzle,
sprawl. Seasick within a blizzard’s scree, thick
scud, quick tricks of ether, dragons drugged,
they circle back, flit, trip, and fling; berserk—
undertows of thrash and shuffle, bare hustled
flak. Hell-bent, the dazzled flock’s mass muscles
out through mizzle. Each whorling ear pricks
up and swells. A rush of thunderheads, stunned
over-reach, jerrybuilt as each dead soul is spilt
and ferries off across the ruts along some pitch,
riddled by the foretaste of what they are about
to bite into: hides where fangs will dart, plunge
tiny needle-teeth in any stung ripe seething bull’s
-eye, sipping up its sap. This mad besotted pack
of Huns fall as one body, down and down, to nip
and suckle. They grip the flesh, they feast—attack
a beast, which buckles, cries, and almost drowns.
Tags: Contributors 95, Poetry, Poetry 95, Will Cordeiro