Samuel Johnson’s word for bat returns
to me at sundown, beneath a screeching cloud.
Forms zigzag while the moon watches, thirsts.
I think of you with the Great Cham’s dictionary
beside a shelf, your long white fingers splayed
across the spine. Unable to swallow
his term, you squealed and burst the library’s
hush, then froze, astonished by the echo.
You left town three weeks later, disappeared
without a text or email. Flittermouse,
what happened? In what rooms do you seek
out words like insects now, combing books
and specialist websites, open-eared,
as you wait for your own strange voice?