Bats in the Willow

“The Bats in the Willow”, “Revenant Gloam” and “I Cannot Make Permanent Things”

In Poetry by Melissa Mulvihill

Three poems by Melissa Mulvihill

The Bats in the Willow

Etched against the fading grey

Nestled deep in the hollow

Where the tree frogs hummed

And the spring breeze curled up to rest

Beneath the spindly branches of winter

sleeping in the sog and the bog on the banks of the creek

Is the willow

Where I paused


First to announce that winter

Is surrendering its icy grasp

To hope

To the breath of warm sun

The glowing green leaves

Begin their sweeping, falling

Journey as they reach and weep

My hand caresses the rough bark


Daylight has not released its charge

To dusk and the neighborhood basks

Rests suspended in the peace of

In between time

Glowing in the hominess of porch lights

Gathering stray kids exploring

Ready to lapse into quietude

I think my willow is slumbering


While bats dart, dash, and click

Their way in and around the willow

Throwing their questions, ideas, warnings

Like an old familiar life line

That commands and answers

Eluding disaster, adjusting course

Delivering messages that are always received

I wish I could echolocate


Under the willow, hidden in the soft rustling

Leaves the bats could teach me

To know before I asked

To aim and always achieve

To avoid before disaster

To intercept and redirect failed attempts of others

To think back, summon up, dwell upon,

I never know the way


Brilliant in the claimed night sky

The overture of the stars

Accompanies the creatures in the hollow

Urging while the evening wakes

Beneath the wispy fingers of the tree

On the mossy banks of the creek

Beneath the willow

Where I paused.

Revenant Gloam

She often attended my manic

ruminations


“Invisible agent, unyielding meddler, the Past

howls

its declarations

that it will expose me


obdurate specter

wretched wraith

manifesting hallways to pace

walls to scrape

air in which to shriek

precious objects to shatter

visions to pollute

with vague and false calls

palpable deception

stomping and rioting

lies in tongues

which terrorize this moment

in odious taunts

with incorporeal haunts

murking the reasons

for these visitations

these possessed spooks
these eidolons of pain

claiming me

during the

revenant gloam”


the silence sat

still and sullen and wrung out


“The ghosts don’t like you,” she mumbled finally


I reached for her

but

she had gone


She’ll be back.

I Cannot Make Permanent Things

Torrents of seasons

deposited the dregs and dross

perishable remnants

impermanent sediment

on the dislodged boards

and shifting ramp of the

tree fort

where I stand under sheets of rain


I cannot utter immutable words


Ephemeral and fugitive to the constant

slippery with the unconcluded

echoes of our voices

holding court

banishing bad guys

saving all manner of oppressed folk

justice delivered via

rules of the kingdom chalked on the walls

where squirrels now nibble


I cannot compel irreversible change


Unabiding residuum of

sheathed swords

retired buckets

smelly fish nets

careening in a monsoon

of honorable intentions

to seal the tree fort

tomorrow

when grander ideas

hailed the days

and the weeks

then the months and the years


I cannot navigate a perpetual path


Enduring rain altered the course of the

water that rages

neath the fort

wringing me out

pelting the remains of

my dam

so the trickle has deluged

into a gushing certainty


I cannot stop the drenching future


the rhythmic approaching of

the untried

the unfamiliar

unrelenting in its swirl about my ankles

eternal and undying

prevailing even without my readiness

to wash myself clean of

this March that rains down on me

while I fight to stay afloat

in the face of my recognition that


I cannot make permanent things

About the Author

Melissa Mulvihill

I write from Northeast Ohio with my husband two in progress sons, 16 and 21, and our labradoodle, Luna(tic). I graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Kenyon College and an M.A. in Counseling from John Carroll University, however I have been busy teaching our boys for the last 8 years. Recently I have been published in the June 2017 issue of Poet’s Haven Digest, Strange Land, and I look forward to seeing my work in the October 2017 Poet’s Haven Digest, The Distance Between Insanity and Genius. My poems have happily found a home in issues 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13 of The Blue Nib Literary Magazine.