(photo by author)

wingless

One by one he tore feather after feather.

He tried tearing them slowly, then with more shrewd and detached motion.

Some methods produced more sticky red substance than others; some produced throbbing undulations that would match the beat and pace of a loon’s cry.

Others fled memory and faded from time.

When he was through, stained plumage scattered at his hopeless feet.

As a small boy he once saw a buck knock his antlers to the ground.

He wondered what kind of God would instruct one to tear him from himself.

He wondered then how they knew to do it and why they didn’t fight against their possession.

But now, standing with naked wings, his eyes showed neither compassion nor curiosity for those creatures.

He knew what was to come and like the bucks, leaned effortlessly on acceptance, and proceeded to a place buried in the dark and dusty corners of his mind to consummate his fate.

He did so using not his wings but his shoeless and uncalloused feet, having lost the will to speed motionless above shrunken objects.

Cracking the hollow bones of his wings hard against the rocks now seemed to him an act of lying down in some cold forgotten barn below breathless tobacco, their last flight ending in two thuds separated by a dark distance of shallow thought.

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