Sheri Vandermolen

Oscillating Symmetries


half a world away
from a friend in distress


Time mind-rapes me,
waterboards me, in zoetrope slow motion,
forcing bitter
stations-of-the-cross womb-fruits
down my throat
as I claw my way, in primal reflex,
through this oneiric
Rorschach strabismus,
unable to escape the labyrinth’s straits.

Friday night…
the choking clouds
from the daily mosquito-fogging
have dissipated
to only the faintest whiffs
of kerosene and Deltamethrin,
bringing the wildlife out of hiding.

I toss on a knit dress, debate shoes,
while listening to
mumblings of my spouse,
who’s in the foyer overhang.

Padding out, in fuzzy slippers,
I find him using his iPhone
to record a foot-wide bat
flying about our two-story entryway.

Rolling my eyes, I ask
if we might stop documenting the moment,
call the neighborhood security desk, for help.

By the time three not-so-armed guards arrive,
the creature has retreated to a spare bedroom,
in which we’ve trapped it;
the men quick-hop inside, slamming the door shut
and summarily undoing the furnishings,
to locate our winged guest.

Told that it has evaporated,
absolutely cannot be found,
my husband takes matters into his own hands,
steps into the room, and instantly spies flapping shadows
on the closet ceiling.

I open/close the door,
snagging my spouse and throwing, to the guards,
a clear-plastic bucket, leather work gloves.

Told it’ll only be moments until the capture is over,
I take refuge in my own closet,
ditching my slippers and selecting flat sandals
that will enhance my escape.

Soon, a guard emerges from the back room,
with a squirming brown puck tucked between
his yellow-kidskin-covered forefinger and thumb.
Husband declares he needs a photo
of the nervous mammal (bat, not security man);
I request they go outdoors, please.

Within minutes,
our fox-faced visitor has been released
and we’re back to discussing traffic, dinner reservations,
my partner laughing
that we’ve become nearly oblivious to such batty incidents
and I asking if his phone has a Batman-signal app.


Sheri-VandermolenSheri Vandermolen is editor in chief of Time Being Books. From 2008 to 2014, she resided in India, capturing experiences as commonplace as trips to local markets and as distinct as a visit to the Maha Kumbh Mela. Her verse has appeared in various international journals, including Ashvamegh, Commonline Journal, Contemporary American Voices, Earthen Lamp Journal, Muse India, Papercuts, Poetry Quarterly, and Taj Mahal Review, as well as in the anthology Veils, Halos and Shackles.

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