August 2020

farnaz fatemi

sleeping in the woods with bats

Farnaz, Bats - tim-foster-BeA744ATibI-un

The rain has light inside it, and, 

lying still, I hear it veer sidelong

through the night, darkening.

I use the sonar I have, like bats. 

I know they’re out there.

It pleases me to pay attention, 

find things otherwise unfindable. 

Hear words push themselves next 

to other words as they are exhaled. 


My father says 

what are you doing? 

and his breath means 

I miss you. 


My mother means 

look at me, say I matter, 

but says Why don’t you read 

what I am reading?


The bats sound

like a heart restarting at night 

after it’s been in my throat because you

are looking into me again, sensing something 

maybe I don’t even sense, 

reaching into my cavernous spaces that echo. 

It’s true: sometimes you know I’m afraid before I do.

FARNAZ FATEMI is a member and cofounder of The Hive Poetry Collective (hivepoetry.org) in Santa Cruz County, California. Her poetry and prose appears in Catamaran Literary Reader, Crab Orchard Review, SWWIM Daily, Grist Journal and several anthologies (including, most recently, My Shadow is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora and The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3: Halal If You Hear Me). Farnaz taught writing at UC Santa Cruz from 1997-2018. www.farnazfatemi.com

(Image credit: Untitled by Tim Foster, 2018)