by Kim Antieau
I dream of wings.
White wings. Black.
Whispers of wings.
What does it mean?
That is all you can ever say, my love, my only?
I can't remember how we first met.
Tell me again.
In college. A writing class.
You were the star.
Always falling, falling, falling?
I remember a lake. Mist rising.
Or a foggy memory.
And my sisters.
Shhhhh. You have no sisters.
I wish I could fly.
I don't remember who I am.
No one knows who they are.
In the morning after you are gone
I listen for…
I listen for…
I listen. The world has a heartbeat.
It sounds just like my daughter's.
Her hand on my cheek is softer
Than a bird's wing.
I never forced you. You wanted me.
I remember that. Wanted you until
All else disappeared. But you know
I can't remember why.
The door slams. Was that what I listened for?
Or was it my daughter's sleep breathing.
Like the wings of birds against the wind.
Why am I the only one who hears it?
I want to feel my love for you again.
Are you gone from my heart?
Then I hear what I have been waiting for.
My daughter calls my name.
I hear it. It is the sound of wings.
Distinct wings. Particular wings.
She holds up a dirty white cloak.
Made of feathers. It is singing.
Winging. The wings of my soul.
Is this what you've been looking for?
My daughter smiles. I loved you to get her.
I know the end to this story. I take
My wings and fly away. Nothing
Else matters but that.
Only she is the heart of the world.
And you did not steal my wings.
I gave them to you.
How could I have forgotten that?
I tell her to hide the cloak
Under her bed for now; I do not touch
it. I work day and night. You do not
Speak. Or see. She sleeps and plays. I find
feathers wherever I can. In the woods.
Along the trail. Inside pillows.
Those are the best. They are filled with
dreams. The ones in the forest are wild
and desperate to fly again. They will hold us up.
When I am finished I awaken my daughter.
She puts on her cloak sleepily, smiling.
She waits for me on the lawn, stretching out
her arms to yawn, laughing as she flaps her
wings. I laugh, too, but don't touch my cloak yet.
Our laughter awakens you. You smile
forgetting your anger. Your fear.
You see your daughter.
You see me. You always have.
I throw my cloak across my back.
I am airborne instantly,
my daughter next to me.
We fly toward the moon,
back to my sisters.
I have left another cloak,
folded into a square
on the kitchen table.
Next to the salt and pepper shakers.
The wind tips my wings.
I hear the heartbeat of the world
And listen for the sound
Of your wings.