I am the bat that vanishes
under the bridge in late September.
I’m the little dancer in night air, drunk
on insects. See me over there by the couple drowning
in each other on the bench under the pine tree?
I am the velvet thing that brushes your earlobes.
I am at home in a cave, a whisker in a dark hole.
I am encircled by rain, owned by wind.
I am a blossom only if you see me.
And autumn folds up my wings and carries me
to the underworld, the lightest death you’ll ever know
is not your own. I am your shadow,
your melancholy, your eyes closed
against the world. I am your littlest mouse self
given wing. I squeeze through the keyhole
of your fear, you who remember the boy
who drowned twenty years ago: together
you worked for a month to build a raft.
It was summer, Lake Michigan. And there I was
under the green bench by the poison ivy, sitting there
with the patience of a saint, wings folded,
waiting for darkness to come.