“Let me mention something wonderful,”
she said, “Bats eat darkness.”
“I see them shadowing the streetlight,”
I said, “diving to feed.
Like hungry fish in a small light pool,
they leap out of darkness
as if breaking the water’s surface,
as if, for a moment,
that alien world, that other, was their home.
Bats feed as darkness breaks.”
“No, bats break into darkness to feed.
Light warns them ‘you can’t stay!’
Think fireflies at the end of the day.
Their lights shine bats away.”
“But aren’t those lights a begging to breed?
Not just a sign of bitter taste?”
“As with passion, they say ‘Come here’
and ‘Keep apart’ for now.”
“Right now, bats break the darkness to feed.
Fireflies flash to breed.”
“Each rules their own kingdom—darkness
makes a boundary to break.
Some dive, some flash to mark the edge.
To transgress is to bless
the penumbra, the lie of difference.
Don’t we rise from earth?
Isn’t our time soaring in this life
a flash, a hope for love?
We see the lures, but know we must
be feed by darkness and
are born in a taste the bitter light,
The sweet then bitter light.”
About the Author: Paul Jones has published poetry in many journals including Poetry, 2 River View, Red Fez, River Heron Review as well as in cookbooks, in travel anthologies, in a collection about passion (What Matters?), in a collection about love (…and love…), and in The Best American Erotic Poems: 1800 – Present (from Scribner). Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards. His chapbook is What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common.
A manuscript of his poems crashed on the moon’s surface April 11, 2019 as part of Arch Mission’s Lunar Library delivered by SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander.
Image Credit: Illustration from Natural history of the animal kingdom for the use of young people Brighton :E. & J.B. Young and Co.,1889. Public domain image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library