Once, during a long warm August dusk, I heard a bat outside my bedroom window.
I stopped shaking my sheets out, stood by the sheer white curtains covering my window.
I decorated my backyard with black and red paper lanterns hanging from the maples.
I strung five lengths of small white globe lights along my patio, below my window.
Owls’ feathers aren’t as heavy as the wings of a bat: those leathered long finger bones.
My black cat stays inside: she watches things fly, watches mammals from her window.
My neighbor put a full-length cracked mirror on the sidewalk for trash or for free.
I was too ashamed to take it and pick out glass slivers, so I watched, crouched by my window.
When I put my cat down, she was as still as onyx, cold as Pluto’s moon, useless as God.
All the paper lanterns in my backyard were eaten-through masks, eye holes like windows.
I have a small china bowl, with a tiny brown owl on its lip; the owl looks down into painted blue stars.
I keep my name in gold on a chain cupped safe in that bowl on the sill under my window.
index: jennifer martelli
Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Uncanny Valley (Big Table, 2017), and two chapbooks. Most recently, her work has appeared in Tinderbox, Glass Poetry Journal, Thrush, and Five 2 One. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, and the co-curator for MER’s Vox Blog.