The needle inked the shapes of feathers—
wings folded, carved into the skin of his back.
He stretched, rolling his shoulders
as the tattooist paused, rested.
He felt the dual pink scars wrinkle then stretch.
There was an absence, an ache
between his shoulder blades he knew
ink could never fill. But for a moment
he pretended they were real, those strong black wings
peeling from his flesh, reaching up, tips pointed skyward.
Then, the tattooist resumed and the needle
was biting, biting, biting.
It was not God he missed, not Heaven.
It was the act of flight itself:
the taste of wind, the feel of freedom,
the near solidity of air cradled beneath his wings,
and far, far below, His most loved
children building castles of sand,
so small, so small.