Wingless

September 16, 2016

Original

Zachary Riddle is a graduate student at Central Michigan University studying creative writing. He works as a graduate assistant at CMU’s writing center, and is the forthcoming editor-in-chief of the international literary magazine Temenos. His work has appeared in Temenos, The Blue Route, and Open Palm Print, among others. He has also co-published a chapbook of poetry, entitled This Labyrinth We Wander, with fellow poet Riley Nisbet and illustrator Amanda Shepard. His dream is to write for television; he won’t quit until this is a reality.

i.

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.

ii.

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.

© Zachary Riddle

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1 Comment

  1. Lydia Schoch

    This was incredible.

    I wish it could be a full-length novel!

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