From the Archive: Jen Currin (CAROUSEL 20)

Staff/ August 17, 2020/ Poem


A Bat Unveiled

In the museum of land mines,
my acquaintance fans her wings.
Outside the sparrows catch fire.
A tree falls to its knees.
I become the sudden murderer,
unable to recognize the radishes
of my hands.

The dictionary shudders. Again I cannot be
alone. What is left of beauty
I sop up with a napkin, believing
it a limited supply. My only reading material
gives in to the blaze.

And now I burn the legs
of the chair, lest they touch
the ground. I would give anything
for a glass of water.
But there are only dirty spoons
and a shoe string I must walk across
to reach the other corner
of the room.

I have forgotten about the beds
in the neighbouring house.
The suitcases underneath crammed with shadows.
There is a drought in my throat
when I think of them.
When I answer before they can ask.

Jen Currin is an American/Canadian poet. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, she is currently based in Vancouver, BC and teaches in the Creative Writing and ACP Departments at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She has published four collections of poetry: The Sleep of Four Cities (Anvil Press, 2005); Hagiography (Coach House, 2008); The Inquisition Yours (Coach House, 2010) and School (Coach House, 2014). More at:

A Bat Unveiled
appeared in CAROUSEL 20 (2006) — buy it here

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