Size / / /

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.

Andrea Blythe lives in Los Gatos, California, where she writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including Chiaroscuro (ChiZine), Perigee, Bear Creek Haiku, and Chinquapin. If you would like to learn more, you can visit her webpage: You can also see her previous work in our archives.
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