Wings burst from my back when I was ten
years old. It was genetic, passed down through
my father’s heritage. Thick, dark feathers grew
from my shoulder.
My classmates pointed. My teacher told me
I was mythology, said I needed a doctor.
My brother called me Crow, asked me when we’d
fly together. My mother, redeyed, wrapped
my head in cloth, bound my hands and ankles
with duct tape, dragged me to the front yard, and took
a gutknife to my newborn
flesh and feather.
My brother’s body sank into an ice bath,
his sunburned skin beetred, his round eyes
pinched shut. Grandma ran a cardboard
colored washcloth across
his forehead and twisted
it tightly around his neck. The blisters
on his shoulders seeped thick
yellow that pooled on the water’s
surface. She kneeled by the tub
and a blot of sunset from between
the half-closed curtains made haven
on her forearm. When he healed,
we compared the scars on our backs—
his, pale and glossed, and mine, rigid and stitched.