Mudflat Bat

The crescent moon hangs south, above the sea.
Out here in the Camargue the mud-flat bat
flies higher now. The atmosphere, you see,
has lightened. Insects lift, ensuring that
the mud-flat bat’s own mouth and mine won’t splat.
He flew so low on Wednesday that I feared
I’d swallow him in darkness, furry-eared
and sonaring the night. It scared him too.
Mosquitoes, the ones who Wednesday rudely jeered,
become his meal, malaria his stew.

Another ‘postcard’ — this one from the Camargue, a place of magic for me and part of the marshy delta where the Rhône river spreads out south of Avignon. In July the Camargue is hot and as dry as Arizona; in the winter two-thirds of it is underwater, sometimes only a few centimetres deep. I wrote this there one night, two miles north of the Mediterranean, standing out on a mudflat edge watching this particular bat inveigling me to write about him, or to open my mouth.

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