At first you think they're birds,
into the summer dusk
when the long hot day's distilling
means the garden's only roses, roses -
most beautiful with your eyes closed,
shut against the tumbled
brickwork and the weeds -
but soon it will be dark
and from the high, thin squeaks
you'll know they're bats,
as the stars' spores
swell, promising more,
poking their green-white light
through the black soil of the sky.
Born in Umtata, Isobel now works in London as a literary agent, mainly on the behalf of South African writers. This is her first appearance in The Wolf . She recently won the Oxfam Poetry Competition, and her first collection Weather Eye was published in 2001.