Big Brown Bat· Buckeye Trail

Echoes in Silence

by Sujata Lakhe

Dear reader,
can you think of sounds
creating an image in your brain.
yes, constructing shape and density
of something and how fast it moves 
a visual with our two ears.
and that too in dark. Well, that is what 
a bat does.

Dear Big Brown Bat, 
You see, with your ears, 
you open your Chihuahua mouth wide
to scream, silent to me but piercing
like in the famous painting. Fierce yawn 
is all I observe, the hairs in my cochlea 
untuned to your twenty thousand Hertz. 

Silent-scream-face, your bared fangs,
silly I mistake it for anger, you
send out ultrasonic waves—
it is called “ultra” because undecipherable
to humankind. For sure, you are not blind.

You make your own light, 
Laser sharp as an attack, darkness 
disregarded, catching a midge mid-flight

I need spectacles for my ears to slow down 
your long and complex song (and thus be able) 
to hear your melodious….chip…chip…chip….
drawn out at first and then
a midge flutters in the dark somewhere

air fills with sparks of sound
your song gets faster
your echolocating brain drops a pin 
hungry wings spread 
and you swoop, GULP. Sustenance
for the fire in your ribs. 

Dear reader,
It is not possible for me to put into words
how would it feel if my ears were attached
to my optical lobes. Bat and us,we all live 
in the same house but look at the night 
from different windows, 
we are looking at moon and stars 
and the bat hearing her own crescendo.





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