Size / / /

Some traits are too deep to excavate

or remold,

like the impulse to take wing, to jump

into the sky

at the first sign of danger; to do so

now would be

tantamount to suicide, he is not only

that much heavier

after his surgery, his wings have been

reduced to mere

appendage, his feathers shorn to stubble

that must by Law

be trimmed daily (although for the first time

since hatching

he is lice-free). But even if he wanted to,

atavistically, no matter

how clever the knifework or indoctrinaire

the post-op, he

also can never deny what he was. The only

way, for example,

he can remember his vocabulary (another

of the lessons

in Sapience he and all the other erigates

must undergo)

is to charge each word with tonal nuance,

cooing up and down

in liquid syllables. Worst still, even if he could

somehow break

free of his new constraints and leave the island

far behind him

like the shadow map of his House-bound pain,

he would wake

every day, see the sun in a foreign corner

of the sky,

and know that as much as he wanted to

to return,

he had been recast, unplumaged, like

an angel in Gehenna,

able to remember only the wrong prayers.

Robert Borski lives at 4431' 21.0774", -8936' 10.4112". He has not attempted to fly anywhere since 1957 when he jumped off the garage roof and broke his leg.

Robert Borski works for a consortium of elves repairing shoes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can read more of his work in our archives.
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