Incubi

The bats fly out against last light
embossed on dark spiral bales
of cloud like rising bonfire ash,
floating low and heavy in the sky,
freighted with spirits of the night.

They carry dreams in bony toes –
homunculi of knobby roots and
tumescent mushrooms, fleshy-white –
hairy lesser nightmares, erotic in their funk.

Dreams cling to dark bat fur, and sail
their fragile armature through open
windows, down chimney throats,
between the slats of attic vents,
into the bedrooms of goodwives and
maidens tossing in their sheets.

The bats find roost in lacy drapes,
the little fingers of their wings
hooked in tatting snowflake-fine,
like netted devils hung to dry.
Rows of foxy pointed ears are tuned
to breathing, sleepers’ moans, the creak
of bedsprings, rustling silk,
as dreams climb down and join their hosts.

O, the sweated hair in elf-knots flung
across the pummeled pillows, curled
like websy ropes ’round wrists and throats –
like reins, like chains – or used to lash
the fevered skin of dreamers caught
and harnessed to the night.

Before the dayworld takes the Earth,
the weight of shadow lovers lifts
from breasts and lips and laddered ribs,
and lungs draw in the morning air with
hungry, dreamless gasps.

The bats return to looping flight,
winging homeward free of haunts,
splayed like offerings against
the cold grey-damask air.

e.yon/2002 (from Fruit & Bones)

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