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Fran Lock: a poem

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.

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