posted Feb 21, 2012

As we watch what in twilight looks at first like birds
darting above us, someone in our party says, Bats,
preempting the question forming in our mouths.
And we become still, trying to keep track
of their trajectory, their black bodies receding
into the sky like stars at dawn. Among us, there is a silence,
as if we’re astonished that they, as we once learned,
truly do come out at night, that pattern exists
in the world despite evidence to the contrary,
until I let out a high-pitched, almost girlish whoop!
because I remember that a sound, at a high enough frequency,
can interfere with the sonar of bats, stopping them in mid-
flight, causing them to drop to the ground like ripe fruit.
No one can resist, and we all begin to howl and holler,
shrill and quick, our faces upturned like wolves—
because who wouldn’t want to alter a course
with just the sound of one’s voice? Sometimes it’s order
we want, order we want to disarray. And we forget
ourselves, shouting into the evening, while bats
pivot and pirouette, as they’ve always done, regardless of us.

Damian Fallon’s work has appeared in Five Points and Tar River Poetry. He lives in Brooklyn.

We’ve published two more poems by Fallon: “Time” and “The State of Main.”