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Tonight a solitary bat lay wings open in the hallway. I use a towel to scoop him into my most gentle grip and return him to the outside.

The porch door snaps behind us. I set him on the wide wood stairs, his zenith of terrors flops and flops to the right.

Brotherin’ screeching the stars down. Yet, he won’t fly. I step back into the porch light’s humming circle. The whole wilderness was schooled to me as a girl, but I have to step away.

Humid dark promises an early morning rain. Sweat tickles along my neck. “Go little horror,” I say. “The matron will bust your back with her broom.”

Fine velvet smarts turn an awful hiss, a banishment of my alien presence in the light, denouncements that reverberate through me.

Then his splintering flight as he enters all the triumphant shrills in the night where blindness is not a sham. [End Page 242]

Amber Flora Thomas

Amber Flora Thomas is the recipient of several major poetry awards, including the Dylan Thomas American Poet Prize, Richard Peterson Prize, and Ann Stanford Prize. Her published work includes Eye of Water: Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), which won the Cave Canem Prize, and The Rabbits Could Sing: Poems (University of Alaska Press, 2012). Most recently, her poetry has appeared in Zyzzyva, Callaloo, Orion Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, American Literary Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998. Currently, she is an assistant professor of creative writing at East Carolina University.

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