the healing muse

Volume 13, 2013

Two poems by Eric Machan Howd

The Nightshirt

I always find it
neatly folded
at your place
in our bed

and unfurl it,
let it rest on the place
where you slept, forget-me-nots
still fresh with your scent.

I place the empty
sleeves at your sides,
set the seams and hems to your shape
pretend to hold your missing hand,

and imagine how these small blue
flowers lightly swayed
with your sleeping,
how your hips brought paradise to this fabric,

and as I fall into sleep,
I gather this material
to my face,
breathe you in, and hope for sleep.

Why I Write Poetry

And this bat flies in the window from God knows where—probably followed in some bug—and I start freakin’ out, thinking of all the stories I’ve heard about bats: getting tangled in hair, not to mention the rabies and blood. So I run into the bathroom, right?, lock the door, drop the toilet seat and sit for what must have been two hours just listening for some sign that that thing had found its way out. When I gathered together my courage, every time I got close to turning the door knob, every time I got ready to chase it out or kill it, I got this feeling that those leathery wings were tangled down, flapping in my hair, beating against my head, and I’d sit down again. It got so bad that I ran out of the house in the morning wrapped in the shower curtain, folded up in pink plastic, my arms crossed over my head, screaming. I never heard if it ever got out.

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