I tiptoe over clothes scattered across the floor.
It is noon and the room is dark.
The shutters are closed,
holding in damp air, shutting out
light that persists and falls
in bars around your bed.
Seeing you curled on sheets,
your back towards me
and pressed (almost clinging)
to the wall, I worry
you are cold.
Your knees bend inwards
towards your chest,
folded neat and small like origami,
the birds we used to make
in reds, yellows, blues.
Bruises spread over your thighs
as you inched along
the platform to greet me.
Suitcases beat against your sides.
Dark lines curved in half-circles
under your eyes. You smiled tiredly,
boasting “I made it.”
Now, blanket in hand,
I bend over you anxious
to see you back scaling walls and trekking
over mountain ridges.
The straps of your nightgown
have fallen around your arms.
Your shoulder blades rise upwards,
two cracked wings.
I want to go to the window
and declare: these are not wings.
Not broken, but fighting.
Like smooth triangles, shaped arrowheads.
About the Author
Shannon Winston is currently finishing her MA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Program in Comparative and World Literature. She specializes in 19th-20th Century Mediterranean literature from France, Italy, and the Maghreb. She has been published in Reed Magazine and she has a forthcoming publication in Two Review.