Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes


Poetry is my 911.  I am a retired professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin, Parkside; have been  a librarian in a log cabin in the north woods, and a volunteer EMT—but I have always been a poet.  I have poetry, literary analysis, and research  published in three countries and languages.  I served as the advisor for the Native student organization, Sacred Circle, at UW-Parkside while teaching there.  

Over 100 of my pieces have been individually  published, including in The Malahat Review in Canada, The Greensboro Review in North Carolina, Nutshell in England, Root River Voices in the annual and collective publications.  My work is also in the anthology, Unsettling America, published by Penguin Books, New York.  A member of the Root River Poets and the Spectrum School of the Arts and Gallery in Racine, I am a photographer and have always believed in nurturing creative energies in grass roots community initiatives with both children and adults.  My chapbook, The Lost Italian and the Sound of Words, is always distributed to audiences for free, with the opportunity to explain its background and emergence. Another is in progress.



This is a story about a bat—
or, perhaps her story about me.
I walked into her life
when she was trapped
in a madness of fluorescence and concrete
her high pitched squeaks
somehow pinging only me.
Fingerwing –did I hear it?
her name.

There were things flying through the air at her:
jackets, books, soda cups,
the crowd shouting
their collective Grimm dreams,
a black-and white flick:
Bram and Bela, the Maestros
in  the echoing stairwell.                                                                                                     

She was falling
striking glass and brick
spiraling down
surrendering chance of escape.

I simply told everyone:
My hand lifted, puppet-like
pulled by some shared sense
of ancient anatomy of flight
Her fingerwings beckoning mine.

I walked the stone floor
arm raised, my hand widespread--
let her wingbeat and breathing calm
as I walked.
Air could no longer carry her
 and so she fell.

Not looking back, I heard
desperate scrabbling
behind me.
Groundbound she bore no magic
more vulnerable than a mouse.

Still she followed.
until we reached the glass walls that bound her.
Was it a gasp I heard
as she crossed the opened threshold
or the rush of air?
under the pathway lamp
her wings curled in.
And then
she flew.