Aubade in Which the Bats Tried to Warn Me
You used to recite the parts of my body like psalms.
I should have known when you started to kiss
with your eyes closed that your mouth would ruin us.
And I should have known when you slipped belladonna
in my buttonholes, when you started to bring me empty boxes,
when I found her dog asleep under our house.
She told me about someone she’d been sleeping with, and the someone
was you. At first, I didn’t tell you I knew. I came home,
and you were slicing rhubarb
and strawberries. You put sugared hands on my neck
and kissed my forehead.No, it happened like this.
When you fucked me, I could feel
how much you hated me. And you came. And I came twice. You stayed
on top of me and softened inside me as you kissed
my shoulders. I stayed awake to watch
you sleep and thought about the stories your parents told about you.
The wildfire you started. How you broke your mother’s birdhouses.
How your father paid you to kill bats,
a dollar a body. Last summer you let me watch.
As you waited with a racket, timber wolves announced
the moon, bats crept out of the attic.
The soft pulp of their bodies struck the house. Your father swatted
your back, handed you five bucks, and I went to pick up
the bats. One still shuddered
against the cinderblock. I should have left, but I didn’t. I crushed
its head with a rock and tossed it into the woods and went inside
and washed my hands and lied to you.