By | 15 September 2022

She had feverish dreams and when
keratin tips erupted from her shoulders
the shame she felt was a red slash.
Plainly, she was growing wings.

Her husband moved soundlessly
about the house. He pitied her awful scratching
and was sorry when she shifted
to the spare room.

Ah, such dun-coloured feathers
no crimson or kingfisher blue,
no delicate spots. And she with
her heavy bones, earthbound still.

Yet, on autumn afternoons
she lies secluded in the courtyard,
her feathers glossy with the heat,
napping on the pavers

and imagines her phantastical
shape viewed from above. She is
not displeased. Neither siren nor harpy
just her own, old, mutable self.

Wings. Not better, not worse
than the breast buds that years before
had ended her weightless world
of cartwheels and handstands.

Now the magpies on the railing
are more beguiling than her books.
And they watch her too
turning their knowing heads

as she dips in and out
of the sprinkler’s parabola
and droplets flung from her shaken feathers
cascade and catch the light.

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