by Jeremiah Tolbert

Topeka’s city lights make the low-hanging autumn rain clouds glow phosphorus orange. Against the clouds, I can see bats no wider than my hand. Not birds or moths. Bats. They make hairpin turns no bird could ever manage, snapping up the mosquitoes that have been so thick this summer. It’s a big happy bug hunt all taking place in the quiet dark.

I have never seen the bats before, even though I go for a walk (doctor’s orders on account of my blood pressure) every night along the same trail. It helps me calm down, and to stop thinking about the trouble I’ve gotten myself into.

It’s kind of freaky how something as simple as weather can reveal hidden truth. It’s not the bats themselves that get to me. I like them and their tricks, and without them, we would all be dying of malaria or something. What bothers me is that all this time, the bats have been flying only inches above my hat, and I just never knew. I didn’t know to look up.

It was the same with the mole men. I didn’t know to look down.