by Mark Bibbins, Editor
In flagrante delicto
An itch, and then the prickly
heat, the pointed tips
at the wings’ terminus tenting
the skin between my shoulder blades.
I was so young then — the pain,
the ripping sensation and that sound
as those points compromised the
muscle, as they tore through the skin.
The wings erupted. The wings
spewed from my back. I expected
blood to splatter, but in the mirror
the tiled floor behind me
remained clean. And as the
wings extended, I saw
that the grayish feathers
were clean. No one can recreate
the panic of the first time.
Some would say I am crazy,
that this was a dream. But
was it a dream? Over a lifetime,
I have become a Master
of concealment. I have learned to tuck
the wings, learned to wear two shirts
until the wings blacken, wither, and
fall off. I don’t even know why
I am telling you this. I shouldn’t be
telling you this. But there are times
like this one where, standing naked,
I try to deploy them, anxious
to show the very things that
used to terrify me. I open
my shoulders. I lean forward. I wait.
Go ahead. Put your arms around me.
Press your warm fingers
into my back. There. Right there.
C. Dale Young is the author of three collections of poetry: The Day Underneath the Day (2001); The Second Person (2007); and Torn (2011). He practices medicine full-time and teaches creative writing in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program.
For more poetry, visit The Poetry Section’s vast archive! You may contact the editor at email@example.com.