top of page

  You could have a big dipper   

Your call has been forwarded to an automatic voice by Jonce Marshall Palmer

Funny how it never graces automatic ears.

Like voicemail is meant to amplify the message and

not the bandwidth to hear it.

It matters whether you funnel

something inward or spewed

out. Copper plates cup the

delicate folds of a bat’s

outer ear for a bowl that holds


I call the next person in the queue and think

does it ever get to be too much for them,

all the sounds, especially when they’re


if they did,

they wouldn’t be able to hunt

and would’ve died out.

Tell that to the woman on the other

line. She dropped her phone

and I can hear it dangling by the cord.

That’s the first thing.

Underneath that are her hurry-

ing footsteps, socks

smearing against hardwood

towards an open door.

The last thing I can make out for sure

is her gasp.

the sky is full of bats

hundreds of brown shadows blackened

by the backlight

of the sun


like light over disturbed water

full of sounds

One last thing

I may be hearing:

Somewhere in the throng, I

think a bat is full of sound,

too cluttered by the wingspans

in their periphery

to let anything out and stay out.

The air rushes past the ears



whine of rushing past eyes clenched

and trusting the ticking dial in their chest.

I think the bat is chirping,

groping with their voice

only to have the sound

s c a t te re d

a cr os s

a ll th e

bo d ie s

with the phone swinging from the cord

knocking against the woman’s wall,

I can’t hear all the flapping just chirps

too high a frequency for human ears to hear

but loud enough to feel

claustrophobia at my desk by the window

blown in from another sky.


Jonce Marshall Palmer (they/them) is a nonbinary poet & organizer living in Tallahassee. Their first chapbook, Searching For Smoke Rings, is available from Ghost City Press. You can connect with Jonce and see more of their work on Twitter @masterofmusix or on their website

103 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page