When We Grow Wings

The rain slid down your broad shoulders, tiny rivers in a canyon of skin, as you smiled at me, hair clinging to your forehead. You lifted me up into your arms and kissed me, soft like snowflakes. "Forever," you whispered. "Always and forever." The image of you disappears, and I remember where I am - everywhere, nowhere. With you, without you. "There is no hope for us, my dear," I whisper, tracing a heart in the slick condensation of my car window. The sky is cloudless blue, smooth glass, and I can see my reflection looking expectantly at me - long wavy hair, full rose lips, melancholy eyes. I hear the humming of a train in the distance and acrid stinging in my shoulder blades. There are fluffy white feathers dotting my dashboard now, and I am a paper being folded. I walk into the melted snow, looking down at my newly-pronged feet, curved with talons. I gaze upward into the hard sun and ruffle my feathers, filled with the profound instinct to fly away. It's too cold here, it's too cold. "Sweetheart, what are you doing?" a mother walks into her daughter's bedroom. "I just finished making this little paper crane," she whispers. She tiptoes to her bedroom window, holding me, the wind tickling the nerves of my sharply creased wings. She lets me go. I close my eyes and propel myself into the sky.