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Memory of Wings

I came upon her
late in the day
at the edge of the path,
alone.

The armless maiden
The wingless angel
whatever one would call her
there she was
stranded.

Kneeling at the graveside
eyes turned toward heaven
beseeching
or accusing
no way to tell.

Hands and arms
crumbled to dust
and I am reminded
of the fairy-tale girl
betrayed by her father
given away like chattel.

The daughter
sacrifices her hands,
surrenders them to bloody stumps,
rather than be bought
and traded
like so much
lumber.

But this one–
this forgotten girl
at the edge of the path
has lost more than hands.
Rising from her back
rusty bones that once held
wings.

The twisted iron
hovers behind her
as if it remembers
flight.

The crumbling remnants
reach toward heaven
beseeching
or accusing
no way to tell.

And I am reminded
of another fairy-tale girl
not so long ago
now, even
somewhere
going about her days
wingless
grounded by thoughts
of Too Much
and Not Enough
freedom traded
for normalcy
for Fitting In
for Right and Proper
because it’s
expected.

All of us
everywhere
driving in traffic
waiting in line
laying in bed
or standing at the
edge of the path
alone in the wood
considering her self in stone.

This woman
that woman
haunted every night
by the aching in
her back
and the one
in her soul
the ache
that contains
the memory of wings.

Memory of Wings, poem ©

Angi Sullins

 

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