Minnesota Summers

It began with bats as

sometimes, it does.

Bat claws scratching. Bat voices

chirping. Bat families

squeezed between the stairs

and the attic door.




Evening, only street, Crow River.


Pickup truck after

pickup truck; dirt roads, tall browning grass,

weeds in the irrigation ditch.


One dusktime walk a pheasant

burst up, scared the shit

out of the dog.




Bat thwap landing

on my mother’s bare thigh.

Midnight. Hot sticky summer.

Bat. Thwap. Thwap.





Swimming in a t-shirt in the

river overflowing, afternoon downpour

everything green

everything grey.


Huddled on the screened in front-porch;

my grandfather’s glass of

powder-made lemonade. The game,

dummy-rummy, Swedish and

Norwegian flags flapping

in rain kick-back wind.




Bat hunters—

mother, grandmother, grandfather.

Bat hunting—

tennis racket, frying pan, broom.


Elusive bats. Multitude of bats.

Bats on bats on bats.




Matching kitchen and bathroom

linoleum, black and white

like Italy, red walls.


Well-traveled whole-life couple

whose friends don’t like when

he cooks

she talks at the dinner table,

their daughter

whose daughter

doesn’t wear skirts.




My grandfather’s burn pile,

writhing brown paper bags

he carried out

one at a time, three a day,





Because corn stalks cut skin

when you run too fast between them:

a Minnesota summer

but the stray cat they call Capote

the house cat, Truman.


Neighbor in a one-piece

on an ATV with a shotgun

three kids

one target:

neighborhood woodchuck.


Same neighbor, other summer:

her kids’ black and white rabbit released.


All the rabbits are cow-rabbits

in Crow River now.




Burning bat bodies

isn’t illegal but

bat murder is.




Hang buckets of water under the eaves

so bats fall in and drown—

bat assisted-suicide.

Bat vulnerability.


It ended with bats,

with bat endings.

Bats on bats on bats.


Carly Taylor