by Vicky Santiesteban
That summer a bat fell in our front yard. I was
on the porch watering our porch plants when I
spotted the thing dragging its wings across our
dirt driveway. I wanted to call you but called The
Man in Gloved Hands instead.

The Man in Gloved Hands came when I called. He
got down on his hands and knees. He picked up
the bat, fingered her warm-furred belly where
worms thick as human fingers undulated and he
told me, “She fell from the trees. These are her
babies. They’re too heavy. She can’t fly.”

This was back when you were the man I loved.
Back when you took walks in the evenings and
came home smelling like trees. When I told you
about the bat you called me Silly Girl with Bats in
Her Belfry. I wanted us to make all the
difference. We were like that. Batshit. Crazy.

Lately, I drive around pretending to listen to
music in case anyone sees me driving around
alone. If you come home now carrying an armful
of green excuses I promise to forgive you. I’ll
burn this house, our house, this small house we
furnished to make seem even smaller.

The Man in Gloved Hands told me he didn’t have
a choice. He crushed the bat’s skull between his
thumb and forefinger and said her babies would
quickly starve then sleep then die. “All the way
around, painless,” he told me. I’ll forgive you
everything. Just come.

Vicky Santiesteban's poetry has appeared in North
American Review, Poetry International, and River Styx.
She lives in South Florida where she is advisor to
PANKU, Broward College's award-winning student
literature and arts magazine.