A STUDY ON FLIGHT
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.