Bat Visits


Wall. Wall. Wall. Wall.
What is this place?
Faster frantic wing beat.
Harder heartbeat.
Sonar beating.

A small, soft thud. Awake now.
Dark wings flutter around
the ceiling fan over my bed.
Maybe a big, black moth.
Very big.
Circles again, again. Fluttering.
Knowing it's a bat. Had known it. Now own it.
Around, around, again, again.
Whir near my head.
Lash out my arm.
Stomach turns.

Jump out of bed.
What to do?
Turn on lamp.
Brown, long-jointed leathery wings.
Not the stuff of Halloween fun.
Cringe. Heart jumps. Throat lumps. Gut knots.
Skin crawls. Scalp prickles.

What to do? What to do?
Stand frozen.
Whirring flutter circles, circles.
Open the door to the balcony.

Wield a broom?
Force it out?
Feet feel cold.
Google it!
Grab the iPhone. Midnight.
Search: "bat in house."

Penn State Extension. That's good.
"Fortunately, these incidents can be
dealt with quite easily. Chasing or
swatting will cause it to panic."

I think we're both panicked.

"Stand quietly against a wall and
watch until it leaves."

I've seen enough already.

"If a bat tires and comes to rest on
a curtain or wall, you can easily
remove it without directly touching it.
Trap it like you would a fly."


"Homeowners are often uncomfortable with bats
in their houses."

No shit.

It flies through the doorway into the hall. Now what?

A way out. Straight flight. Relief.
No way out.

I hesitate in the doorway and it comes
flying into my face.
My arms go up against its hideous face.
I crouch. It dodges.
Circling in bedroom again.
I dart, ducking out of the room and
close the door, bat inside.

The guest room appears bat-free.
The extra mattress, sheets, pillows,
never so welcome.
I watch the ceiling.
My skin crawls.
Sleep not possible.

"Bats are beneficial."
Penn State again.
"Capture insects in flight...
"2,000 insects per night...
"Bat guano is valuable fertilizer."

I don't feel grateful.
I have screens to keep the bugs out.
I don't need my bedspread fertilized.

Search: "Bat removal."
"Nuisance Wildlife" looks promising.
I can call in the morning.
Terminex's 24/7 hours don't tempt me.
Too tired now.

Memory of a cloud of bats against a near-dark sky.
Turning my granddaughter's stroller, pointing to them.
She grins, chuckles, her hat falls back.
We listen to cicadas, amble home and light

Robert Frost describes the "antics"
of a blind bat that can't spot him.
He's calm, amused, lazily leaning
on a haystack at dusk.

Midnight in a bedroom is another thing.

Sleep must have come.
Daylight. I can postpone this no longer.
Broom in one hand, dustpan in the other.
Quietly, slowly open the door.
Creep in, scan the ceiling,
sweep under the bed, across the closet ceiling.
No bat.
Close the balcony door.

Each in our own domain.
Gratitude comes.

Illustration courtesy