Charlotte Innes: Bats

 19th century Kano school bat sketch

In Chinese, means happiness,
and bat. It needs no tonal shift
to transform joy to battiness.
Unlike those darker minds that drift   
to folktales of how bats crave hair
for nests, some people sanguinely
suggest they signal luck, a fair
deal, love. For those who only see
what’s there, a bat’s a bat, with wings
and fur, hangs upside down, and pings
its calls too high for us to hear.
Just so, our words unfold, unclear,
unheard or misconstrued. What’s true?
What you just said—and I to you.