Illustration: bat being flung from bedsheet


Before the wedding,
not ones for superstition,
we stayed together.

My grandparents’ house
with its lit nave-red landing,
its slow varnished heart,

brushed the August night
into its corners,
our unborn son’s bedroom.

Then above us—a bird this late?
A hawk-moth, I thought,
with tattered eyed wings.

A bat. A wheeling scrap of black,
scrawling its planchette
flight over our bed.

Whatever discordant
this creature had fled

to find us,
we made a ghost
of the tale and caught

it in a white sheet
that we took downstairs
to the expectant garden

and, lightly, let fall.

Laura Wainwright was born in Cardiff and lives in Newport, South Wales. She is the author of a book of literary criticism, New Territories in Modernism: Anglophone Welsh Writing 1930-1949 (University of Wales Press, 2018). She was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize poetry competition in 2013 and 2019. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and journals. Twitter: @wainwrightlj

Bat illustration by C.B. Auder.

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