Reading time: 1 minute and 9 seconds

HOME looms large as a metaphor. It’s the stand-in for our very selves and the way we live our lives. (Check out this very-cool 2017 essay on that subject.) No wonder HOME keeps popping up in our dreams, in movies, in literature, in poetry. No wonder it adds a very human, entertaining, gratifying aspect to my work as an “estate agent.”

I was delighted to discover this Mark Wunderlich poem in a recent issue of the New Yorker. At first I thought, “If he’s living with a colony of bats, then we’re going to have to disclose that when we sell his house.” That’s the Realtor in me!

Please enjoy, and if it conjures any thoughts about YOUR roof or attic, I hope you’ll share those with me?

The Bats
by Mark Wunderlich

I share my house with a colony of bats.
They live in the roof peak,
enter through a gap.

At dusk they fly out, dip
into inverted arcs
to catch what flutters or stings,

what can only be hunted at night.
Sunlight stops their flight,
drives them into their hot chamber

to rest and nest, troll-faces
pinched shut. I hear them scratch.
In darkness they chop and hazard through the sky,

around blue outlines of pines,
pitch up over the old Dutch house
we share. They scare some

but not me. I see them
for what they seem—
timid, wee, happy or lucky,

pinned to the roof beams,
stitched up in their ammonia reek
and private as dreams.

Photo Credit: Jody Confer

Author and RealEstateTherapy curator Cynthia Cummins has been devoted to homeowners and homebuyers for three decades and counting. Visit for more information on San Francisco real estate.