Chelsea Rathburn

Bats in the Attic

By day, God how we hated them hanging there,
dry withered leaves with faces, a filthy mass
pissing and writhing in a crumpled hive.
We squirmed to watch them squirm beneath our stare.
But nights, nights we dragged chairs onto the grass.
A change had come to pass,
and as we watched their synchronized ascent
it seemed some lovely, hidden language meant
for us. They dipped and went,
and as we tracked them, bat by vanishing bat,
we wished that we were changeable like that.

Chelsea Rathburn is the recipient of a 2009 fellowship in poetry from the NEA and author of the collection The Shifting Line. New poems are forthcoming in Poetry and The Atlantic Monthly.