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Updated: Mar 29, 2021

In spirit, my dad brought me healing.


Mist and sun alternatively dapple the day. It’s cool,

window-unit-cool, open-refrigerator-door-cool.

If I don’t do it now, I won’t ever do it.

I could lose something,

but what if it’s the something

I don’t want;

something I want

to lose.

I make the decision, and the body I was

is already gone. It clings to that moment,

a dry cicada shell. I sidestep along

the slim neck of a trail in the mountains

and leave that other me behind.


“Close that door,” you say.

“You’re letting the heat in.” I do it.

You’re sitting at your desk holding bandages

and mercurochrome.

“We’ve got to patch you up.”

I look down and a hole about the size of salad plate

floats in my chest. Smaller holes dot my arms.

I see dust bunnies on the beige rug through them.

“Turn around,” you say.

I study the photographs on the wall of your office.

Humanitarian saints and scientists frankly appraise my condition.

Norman Vincent Peale grins encouragingly

from the book jacket of The Power of Positive Thinking.

“You’ll need a hawk to make it right,” you pronounce.

Damn. This is weird, I think to myself.


Feathery and fierce, she nests in my chest.

Wings flutter and brush the empty space.

They sweep and circle until the cavity is secure.

“This won’t hurt too much,” you say,

She clamps down and pulls a strip of flesh

from the right side of my back.

You swab away a trickle of blood,

leaving a rust-scented streak in the air,

tape a bandage in place.

“Leave this on until you sprout feathers on your arms.

It won’t take long.”


Already, my vision is so improved

that I can see a future as solid

as I am becoming.

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