By: Elizabeth Joseph

If I were to pluck my feathers,
I wouldn’t be able to fly.

But I want to feel the grass underneath my feet

I hop like a robin on the sidewalk
(away from flight, towards dandelions
sprouting in cracked concrete)

I love the pinpricks of frigid water
that come from diving through clouds,
a reminder that I am alive, capable of pain
a rush of air, resounding echoes of blood pounding,
breath stolen from my lungs,
the cold bite of blue sky and warm slices of sun
that cloak me in the colors of the evening

I am detached from the earth and the light dappling it.
I cast shadows on the ground.

I would pluck every feather if I
could stand on the beach, root myself in sand.
let seaspray batter my skin
and leave fine salt crystals.
could feel the reverberating ring of blood flow
and soreness echoing through my feet
as I plant them with each step
could feel the satisfaction of work done well
in the compact whiplash of vastii recoil
could let the weight of my wings slough off my shoulders
carried instead only by strong legs and supple feet)

could let myself