Roots and Wings

(for lack of anything else to say, I’m posting here a poem a day)

I asked my mother to give me roots.
She smiled and left the cord uncut,
its far end snaking through
a lineage of cords untouched.
I clawed against its tether,
searching desperately for swords.

I asked my father to give me wings.
He stood away,
arms pressed heavy to his sides.
“Fly, fly!” his strained voice cried.
I raised my naked arms
and walked into the wind.

I asked my husband to share
with me the things he knew
of roots and wings.
He showed me scars
where his own still pressed
from deep below old broken skin.
I stumbled away,
a stolen blade tucked in my boot.

I asked my lover to show me
what he thought of roots and wings.
He climbed upon a fence
and sat away the days.

So I called the stones
to coil at my feet,
sharpened my blade to womansword,
and carved a path that spiraled
through a horizontal rain.

And the roots became wings.
And the wings became roots.

And now I flow among the sands,
cold and knowing;
I rise, unbridled,
light among the dust.

c elf 1980s

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