On the Sudden Death of a Woman I Only Knew Slightly

The boy next door says he saw
three bats swoop from the early
morning eaves before the dogs
woke before the morning glory
stretched before the lady
in the tie-dye shirt walked
in the park before the ducks
left reedy beds to beg
before the heron
in the willow rustled
overhung limbs before
newlyweds touched skin before
the stalled engine’s song before
the crushed skull’s story before
the sweet scent of blackened
banana before the flies
found the belly-up cat
before the rattle-thrum-dash
of delivery trucks before
coffee before cigarettes
before I dragged myself back
to learn of your sudden passing.
Three bats swoop, seek the unseen.

Jim Zola's publications include a chapbook, The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press), and a full-length poetry collection, What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.