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Bats and Other Nocturnal Animals

Qiana Towns

Bats and Other Nocturnal Animals

       —after “Face of Mental Illness,” Photography Year, 1977



Possession is cleaving is desire

is sinking its fangs into rotting flesh

wading in a river of psycho sodomy.


These photos could be scenes from a blues:

woman lying beside a glossy print of Esteban,

legs spread like wings—imaginary love;


woman curls against sopping

wet tiles bent on tracking drip drops

to their final resting place.


Through a glassless window in the door

light hovers above her breasts—crop circles. 

She shutters as the flashbulb pops,


asks if my lens ever captures lost wishes,

asks if I am the kind of drunk who wets

the bed and leaves my lover soaked.


I just want to take your picture, I whisper.