Summer 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 3/4 Poetry |

Neoteny

Unlike tadpoles, big-eyed and wiggly, or bat babies with snub puppy faces and skins of helpless velvet, the island was born red-faced and belching, hunchbacked, shifty, sharp and hot all over. Nothing about it in infancy would endear it to a mammal mother, move her to coo and keep it safe. The white-faced bat feeds her three-day-old, which fortunately resembles a teddy bear; she can tell it by smell from a hundred others bundled inside their hollow tree; she is drawn to this one as if it were joy. And by more than coincidence, we must suppose, she learns indifference to it about the time it grows as big as she is and sprouts a mournful horse-skull muzzle just like hers. The young bats fly off to give our nightmares something to fix on— the pitiless way it stared at me without recognition— the pitiless way it flew right at my head, and missed— the pitiless way it flickered in circles above me as if I weren't there— and we hold our babies tight, for conso

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Morning on Despina

By Sarah Lindsay

Unlike tadpoles, big-eyed and wiggly, or bat babies with snub puppy faces and skins of helpless velvet, the island was born red-faced and belching, hunchbacked, shifty, sharp and hot all […]

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