POETRY

A STUDY ON FLIGHT

i. purpose 

just like when you calculated the compatibility of 

you and her; just like the time you analyzed 

love like a specimen pinned to a board. this time you’re staying grounded in reality, clipped your wings for the sake of normality. 

now, you’re studying flight. 

ii. research 

avian bones are hollow and you wonder why 

gravity still applies. figure 1: your own 

anatomy. avian bones are hollow and you look at her-- 

nimble fingers creasing the sky into paper designs-- and you know your research must be mistaken. you measure the angles of her arms, her shoulders, her spine, and by nightfall discarded diagrams soundproof the walls. endless revisions have crumbled your fingers to chalk; you inhale the dust left over. figure 2: wings. 

you cite pages of white noise, feeling like maybe 

they’d be enough to justify the strange aerodynamics of your heart. 

iii. hypothesis 

predictions should come easily. numbers are fixed, after all-- like you: double-helix desires, synapses masquerading as emotions. even so, you hear every echo of each empty breath you take. you think

if it were winter, you’d be able to see them too, pale 

and fleeting. that roll of drugstore gauze 

sits on the table, pristine under the garage lights. 

you’re reminded again of your own skin. 

thin and flimsy. 

iv. experiment 

it’s interesting how you’re made of the same atoms as anyone else, but it’s like the universe filtered you into greyscale and brushed you aside. these days it’s getting 

harder to separate the real from the metaphorical. 

you do try-- cling to your conclusions and your proofs and your laws-- but it’s a worthless endeavour. how can you deny the evidence of flight? scalpel at the ready, you disinfect the table. 

v. data analysis 

what have you learned from classroom dissection? only that 

peeling apart death’s insides doesn’t make her easier to understand. only that no amount of dopamine can explain that rush 

of forbidden euphoria when you look at her. only that memorizing twenty different neurotransmitters brings you no closer to figuring out your own. only that 

you can’t graft wings onto your (an ordinary girl’s) back, you can’t

send her to the heavens and expect some divine acceptance. you can’t pull her out from the depths, gouge those words from her mouth when you don’t understand her at all. 

vi. conclusion 

the sky brings you migratory birds as a parting gift. they soar, 

free. nighttime shows you dreams of angels, gives you little glimpses of purity. and by day, she awakens 

the dawn’s lost luster, iridescence and an undeniable truth 

that catches in your throat when you look at her. 

you stare into the mirror when it all has come and gone, as if 

willpower could catalyze an epiphany-- but the laws of the world don’t bend to you, and you don’t bend the skies. you are still 

flightless.

Margaret Wang is a high school student from the United States. She enjoys piecing together jigsaw puzzles, transcribing songs by ear, and the color orange. She is also perpetually confused.