Mammals of the Order Chiroptera
The flying fox is not a fox, my daughter tells her neurologist. Flying foxes carry their young on their backs. Most of them are frugivorous. But we hunt them, she tells her neurologist. She asks him why. She asks if he has ever killed a living thing.
I dream of bats in silhouette, of smudges left on the kitchen window from their wings, leathery membranes that may as well be dried oak leaves raked into a heap for burning.
I dream of a woman who tells me to buy two, two cars or two houses, the solitary trust of a fig tree after a freeze and the two squirrels that come to pick from it.
I dream that I should watch for painted Fjords without knowing that this breed of horse only exists in one color, without knowing that the Vikings buried them with their dead.
I wonder if I’ll ever write a story about the poem I wrote to prove I’m not a poet, a poem about the underside of bats’ wings, a failed metaphor for how eyelids look from the inside.
At the dinner table, our daughters laugh and find ways to outwit each other with song lyrics and trivia about hippos and plants that can survive without sunlight. For me, there’s not much to say.
I don’t have adapted forelimbs. I drove to the office and home again. The water cooler outside my door was empty. I ate a pack of crackers alone at my desk, incapable of true or sustained flight.
Jami Kimbrell is a mother of four and a trial attorney practicing in Tallahassee, Florida. She also holds a B.A. Degree from Florida State University in Literature. Her short fiction has appeared in Word Riot, Monkeybicycle, Vestal Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, New South Journal, Tin House Online, Fiction Southeast and in the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.