Popshot Magazine

Illustration by Brooklin Holbrough


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

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