fruit bat

Lisa Conway

tell me 
about the fruit bat. what it eats,
        where it lives
how its wings are not only for flight
tell me about the midwife bat
how the espresso of sisterhood flaps
        tell how sisterhood
                    hangs upside down
letting the bloodrushtoitsface

in seventh grade
she told me I’d need a tag name
we were ripe and
became what we saw: peaches.
mangoes. which I’d never tried until

she drew me into her sunlit
afterschool kitchen,
she cupped raw hamburger between palms
flicking a packet of sazon into the meat
you will love it, she said

and again she said it, about
the mangoes we sucked from the rind
you will love it

we memorized lyrics with one bud in her ear,
the other in mine, our cheeks
hitting each other’s cheeks
each time we cackled:
don’t wake my dad (redeyed, unlabeled)

it made us laugh harder to be silenced

she discovered her family’s native tongue
in the sock drawer of Spanish class, we
poured para mi bebe into our souls: we were
always hungry, we
noticias into salads of understanding, bought
each other quarter waters and Wrigley’s, stole
palabras from couch cushions, nombres from
expired passports

she became candlelit
like a painting on the wall of a cave

we couldn’t tolerate our fluttering, or slow down
an incestuous roost,
plotting pollination, plotting harvests
we weren’t there yet. it was not our time

we returned, leathered, to our sullen names
we thought we were the fruits
but we were the bats
spooled by our wings,
spooled centrifugal around a beating

keeping time with crickets under the fridge
I wonder, does she                                         (like me: were you ever like me?)
           still see best in the nighttime?

like any pair of bats, we shared a common wisdom:
no matter how far inside I take
          you, there’s a place
you      can’t get to. tell me about it. tell me. 

Lisa Conway is a writer, mother of three children and one dog, and high school English teacher. She earned her undergraduate degree in art history and creative writing from Binghamton University, and holds a master’s degree in secondary English education from Queens College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Her publications include Newtown Literary, great weather for MEDIANYSAI press and Crepe and Penn. Lisa attempts gardening, studying French, practicing yoga and drinking coffee in her spare time. She resides in New York City and wonders about poetry all of the time.

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