Mina Harker to her stalker
Your bats have exceeded the belfry. Leather
attrition of wings to wear the twilight into dark.
And numerous. Their mammal zeitgeist hums.
Bats have written this song in BASIC. You are
straightened, phoney, and prowling. Seething
with chivalry. How a wineglass breaks
against your teeth, your latex tears. Combing
your thinning hair in the callous lounge. Too
bright. A bat is a kind of airborne pocket, inside
out: shake its dirty purse of fur, and watch as
all your plumbous verbs fall down. Your copper
coins, your guano squall of names. Your bats
have exceeded the belfry. You are becoming
what you mutter to the mirror: marrow sucker.
Expanding a paraffin kýrie through windows
sealed with wax. A carbide pulse, these bats,
to beat against your walls, your doors, your
devastated glossaries of blood. And you,
a muppet ghost, scribe to every mealy thought:
the loiterer in gloaming, sickness in the rose.
You'll rise, keening your canine distemper
into email, thumb the touchscreen's runny
eye, grout your mouth with dogged spite.
Here come bats: crepusculating wraiths.
Angel-cudgels, tenderising air, their flight
a chiral fate you read minutely into ruin.
Your bats have exceeded the belfry. Dense
ball of bats, a single raving viral heave.
You believe yourself a victim. No. You've
courted this coat of bats. And no atroce
dame sans merci am I. No witch's curse for
your buttonhole. No poison lichtblaue
blume. Your own piss licked from burdock.
Gristle stems of weeds. No Werther, you.
A counterfeit Melmoth, grinding his
Protestant teeth to stain. And on the poxy
edge of sleep are bats, heralds of nocturnal
ego fed to fury. Sanguinary vandals in the
bilious black of cities; hours reserved
for sirens and disgust. You tell your rotten
abacus of prayer. No rosary: my marbles
of misdeed, each beady disappointment, each
distended sleight. Ask me again: am I happy?
Am I pleased? Paranoia is an axe you grind
on gluttony. Gnashed your teeth to needles,
chewed my fault to pulp. Fuck you. Your bats
have become a mirror of meat. You Halloween
Narcissus, you. I was never yours. No profile
clipped in silhouette, or subject to a song.
I'm not your gaslit lily neck, trembling
its remedy. My fists are made from garlic
bulbs. My only humour's winter air.
Dr Fran Lock is a some-time itinerant dog whisperer, the author of seven poetry collections and of numerous chapbooks, most recently Contains Mild Peril (Out-Spoken Press, 2019). Fran has recently completed her Ph.D. at Birkbeck College, University of London, titled, "Impossible Telling and the Epistolary Form: Contemporary Poetry, Mourning and Trauma". She is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters.