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In truth I am a bat-cave unto myself

and just as scientists have yet to fly like me

without calamity, I know not what I do.


These days even my own flesh and blood,

which is to say my body, does not trust

me with it. I can barely contain


myself. This was supposed to be

a love poem. I am sorry it never is. Let me

assure you that I am no prize and let us talk


of other things. Here is the story

where we build a house with walls and floors

and nails tucked away in wood planks


where they belong. Here, tulips in a milk bottle.

Here, mussels in a copper pan. Butter

on the toast and a shoe beneath the bed.


But this is not a story at all or not the one

I wrote to myself, supine on a stranger’s

kitchen floor already turning


to be chastised. A series of wrongheaded

hands and then a right one. Yours. Must I

live by gut or sunspots, the legs


gone out from under me? I had hoped

it was not so. I have long suspected

I am lovely with my beady eyes


and leathern wings but that is insufficient

for my purposes. I lurk outside my life

like the vampire of legend waiting to be


invited in. One day, trains will stop

asking me to find out where they go

and I will cease my hoving down the tracks


like quicksilver. I’ve been mercury, been

poison and I keep on clutching my head

and talking to nothing, would turn myself in-


side out to be empty. I thought I saw

a man by the river but it wasn’t a man

it was you. I thought I was alone


but it was you. I thought it was daybreak

on a tall and dangerous bridge, or my own

claws clinging to the little they understood


but those things were you. I thought it was

just air beneath me and it really was

just air but you were there too.


    hilary dobel

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