bat oil
Scented Bat Oil
Roger Pfingston

"Poets are servants of the commonplace
and arcane force which is the Imagination—
they know it is possible to be anyone
or anything."

         —Carol Muske-Dukes

The bottle, having lost its h from use,
reads Scented Bat Oil. Carefully pouring
a capful into the rising water, you lie back
sliding down to let it flood your parts
with its sweet sting, thick air fluttering
like a heart murmur, buttocks and back
squeaking against porcelain until quietly slick,
the tiny squeaks having taken to the air,
calling to each other, filling the steamy room
with thin jabber, bats spiralling up
from nowhere (the toilet bowl?), not a one
touching even a leathery wing tip to wall
or door, the squeaking screeching now,
grating the air like a train braking to avoid
oiling iron wheels with the blood of the drunk
passed out on the tracks. Too deep now,
water stopping the ears, you come up
quickly with bats splashing from your hair,
skin gleaming like boiled tripe. Dripping across
the floor, you wipe the mirror clean, jam
the cap on the bottle, flush the toilet twice,
then again. When you open the door, the cool air
pimples your skin as the TV tells you who you are.