Mammals of the Order Chiroptera
The flying fox is not a fox, my daughter tells her neurologist. Flying foxes carry their young on their backs. Most of them are frugivorous. But we hunt them, she tells her neurologist. She asks him why. She asks if he has ever killed a living thing.
I dream of bats in silhouette,
of smudges left on the kitchen window
from their wings, leathery
membranes that may as well
be dried oak leaves raked
into a heap for burning.
I dream of a woman who
tells me to buy two,
two cars or two houses,
the solitary trust of a fig tree after
a freeze and the two squirrels
that come to pick from it.
I dream that I should watch
for painted Fjords without
knowing that this breed of horse
only exists in one color, without
knowing that the Vikings buried them
with their dead.
I wonder if I’ll ever write a story about
the poem I wrote to prove I’m not a poet,
a poem about the underside of bats’ wings,
a failed metaphor for how eyelids look from the inside.
At the dinner table, our daughters laugh and find
ways to outwit each other with song lyrics and
trivia about hippos and plants that can survive
without sunlight. For me, there’s not much to say.
I don’t have adapted forelimbs. I drove to
the office and home again. The water cooler
outside my door was empty. I ate a pack of crackers
alone at my desk, incapable of true or sustained flight.
Jami Kimbrell is a mother of four and a trial attorney practicing in Tallahassee, Florida. She also holds a B.A. Degree from Florida State University in Literature. Her short fiction has appeared in Word Riot, Monkeybicycle, Vestal Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, New South Journal, Tin House Online, Fiction Southeast and in the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.