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by Gail Entrekin
Sail on, silver bird. Sail on by.
My son has left for college. In the dream he had feathers
at first small, white, frothy pinfeathers on his shoulders,
back, and upper arms. But, as we hiked along in the sun,
they multiplied, became long, stiff, silvery white,
became smooth, silken wings with hollow spines
and long soft fronds, until he was all feathers.
I held him to my breast to ease his fears,
and he shrank into a little boy, his chubby legs
around my waist, and just as my joy rose up,
his little heart pounding against mine, I looked down
into his yellow eyes, his cruel beak that could never
speak to me again, and felt how his wings were flapping
up against my arms, how I held them pinned to his sides
in my embrace, and suddenly they burst forth,
exploded through my arms out into the air.
He lifted off directly before me in a wave of feathers
and wind and beating and I awoke weeping, my face
all running and wet, and I lay there thinking the ending,
how he was soaring out over the sea,
disappearing into the sun.