A Story

by Amanda Auerbach

A dying bat got in. I thought it
a brown leaf. Perhaps
because the dying bat was next
to an old rose

both were going to die
both were going to be shoveled
onto the doorstep
both of them definitely died

both of them definitely stayed
on the doorstep
and as they did
they died even more

in different ways:
the rose lost color
but did not really change
the bat started to look

like both of them.
And now I can finally look
at the bat
for as long as I can look

at the rose
so I stop to say to the bat
what I am now

to say to myself
I say to the bat
do not tell yourself
you are bad

you were never bad
but always like you are now
that you’re dead
much the same

as you seemed before
but less

more like the rose
the longer
it died

you’re definitely better
than you were
at your worst
when in the act of dying

without even seeming to
change position
you moved
and then

it seemed that
what you were not
and so must have been
was disclosed

what you were not
and so must have been
rather than just
something else.

Published on April 11, 2019