Girl and Bat: A Poem for Two Voices*

against full moon
Shadow soaring
over skylight
Wing-swept wind
above my nose
                                                               Heart frantic-beating

                                    It’s from this

skimming smallish                          jerky largish


Get it                                                    Let me

I can’t see!                                          I’m afraid!

                        She’s more afraid of me?

*Performance note: I have adapted the format used by Paul Fleischman in his wonderful Joyful Noise. The poem can be read aloud by two readers at once, one taking the left-hand part, the other taking the right-hand part. The poem is read from top to bottom; lines at the same horizontal level are spoken simultaneously, and lines in the center column are spoken in unison.

You seek flowers

Here, see: cupped in my hands

the last of them—spice-scented,

thousand-petaled, gold—

believe me


Friend, the world has gone

dust-dry, apostate

but I have a spring,

winter-heart hidden


These are the bloom

of all our life’s fruit,

watered, deep-rooted:

have them


Heidelberg with Children: Q.E.D.

Erste und immer: whining.

Cogs on the tourist trail tracking

up Schlangenweg’s steep cobbles—

90 degrees, sun, blackberried

dry-wall view over the Neckar

to the Schloss, medieval-gated

university town.

Parents these many years; ergo,

we take it with a grain of philosophy.


Today we drove to Heidelberg to hike the famous Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk) via the Schlangenweg (Serpentine Walk). erste =first, immer = always, Schloss = castle