This poem is by Sophia Rubina Charalambous. Illustration by Brooklin Holbrough
For four days every month
I prepare for the bats.
Inside the organ, thousands
of throbbing eyes peer religiously
in the direction of the mouth
of the cave.
They arrive at dusk, a coal cloud
breathing like a crude black
lung, loose and sticky and matted
plasma panic flapping through
pits, trapped for days, lack of air
turning them dark, destructive.
When they appear pumping, fluttering
it is a ceremony. Fruits, laid
at the altar, are shelled and set
for sucking, palm branches fan out
for the bats to recover, absorb into the dim
interior, scratches, clicks faintly echoing.
For nine months I need the bats to migrate south
for winter, where there are richer soils, sweeter
fruits. Or hibernate – sleep so deeply nature transitions
into every season, dizzy and peaceful from what is required
to stay alive. I need the bats to leave me so I can start
a new life. But every month secular heads shake
as god Camazotz. The bats are captivated by their birth
home, where only I have grown with them.
This poem appeared in The Haunting Issue of Popshot Quarterly
To ensure that you never miss a future issue of the print magazine, subscribe from just £24 for 4 issues.