After each successful night,
a vampire bat regurgitates
his nutrient goop into the mouth
of his co-sleeper’s throat.
one sister-in-the-struggle may fly forth,
wings agape signaling triumph, and
the once-sung hero, (now
down-in-the-mouth) will have to wait
for her. My friend donated
religiously when she was in college.
Platelets, mostly. She wanted to pour out
her insides, a prayer,
hang upside down,
do anything, transubstantiate
air, if she could, if it would
do anything to transform
her friend, who at twenty-five
was readying herself to fly –
Now I visit the hospital once a week
to see if my platelet count has gone down –
If it dips
down too far, I’ll need more blood.
I’d prefer a new method of transfusion:
with a handsome or beautiful nurse,
or, sound asleep in my bed, dreaming
of a stream of animals –
a giant sloth, a walking whale,
a feathered primate whose song I shall not compare,
a bat whose teeth more dull than sharp, all in line, ready
to offer up, just a bit of themselves
in tiny silver cups.
BARBARA SCHWARTZ is the author of the chapbook Any Thriving Root (dancing girl press, 2017). A finalist for the 1913 Poetry Prize, her hybrid poetry manuscript What Survives is the Fire was selected for Boomerang Theater’s First Flight New Play, and has been included in The University of Miami’s Holocaust Theater Catalog. Her poems have appeared in Upstreet, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Carolina Quarterly, Quiddity, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Potomac Review, and elsewhere. Barbara lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.