This time, I will begin at the ending.

That house burned in the fire

along with all of the others

in Larkin Valley.


But by then, the bats were gone.


I keep returning to this poem

that draws me to a late autumn afternoon

when my niece and I sat in lawn chairs

facing her house. Just after sunset,


a dark shape appeared

from a crack under the eves,

grew larger and left

on its jerky flight.


Then came another

dark shape

and another until

the bats had all flown out.


We pulled on our sweatshirts,

poured white wine

and waited for the stars

to begin their display.


Patricia L. Scruggs

Patricia L. Scruggs lives and writes in Southern California. In addition to her poetry collection, Forget the Moon, her work has appeared in ONTHEBUS, Spillway, RATTLE, Calyx, Cultural Weekly, Crab Creek Review, Lummox, Inlandia as well as the anthologies 13 Los Angeles Poets, So Luminous the Wildflowers, and Beyond the Lyric Moment. A recent Pushcart Prize nominee, Patricia is a retired art educator who earned her MFA at California State University, Fullerton.

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