The en­try­way al­ways smelled like some­thing rot­ten
in late sum­mer. We didn’t have time to
do more than wrin­kle our noses, Billy and me,
those dou­ble-glass doors with the wire in­side
were just part of the dis­tance
be­tween mom’s apart­ment and the street out­side,
like the torn and curled rub­ber on the stair­well
like the scary old woman who yelled at us in Italian
while we played stick­ball.

When Leon got his head put through the dry­wall
I was the one who found him the next morn­ing
when I brought the trash down­stairs. His head was
still stuck through like you do at the strong-man
cut-out at the amuse­ment park. The cops
hauled him out and he was laid out in a suit I hadn’t
known he’d owned next time I saw him.

When the man came to fix the hole, he tore out
the whole wall and found a pile of bat skele­tons
rat­tled to­gether in a skein of bones with one
live bat on top.

None of these this week have been any good, but they do have po­ten­tial. The biggest prob­lem with this one is that it doesn’t have a point, al­though I think there are glim­mers of one. It is loosely based on ac­tual bats that lived [and reg­u­larly died] in the en­try­way of my house on Stoneybrook Lane. The crazy Italian grand­mother was real too.

Speak your piece