Arts & Culture / Health / Vol. 2 No. 3

Earth Wings

Todd Stong, Fire (2)

Image Credit: Todd Stong, Fire (2), (2018), etching ink on paper, monoprint, 24×18″. Courtesy of the artist.

I wanted to see you one last time (more)/ before I left and you/ needed to see me with
my/ wings open (a nomad’s tent on my back)/ unfurled rising and the sight of them/
hurting you with fear overwhelming

on my shoulders constellations of more colors than you had ever comprehended /set
against earth soil/ saturated feathers/ the gathering/ of the bright hues of everyone’s
eyes world over/ (you had missed had never seen)

the vibrant auras of all the prayers and blessings ever made for eternal life (my
obligation to carry with me these prayers unfulfilled)/ a sustenance I would need for the
millennia I would live alone/ loveless again

also the bleeding stars/ broken scattered throughout and over my wings/ like the
hammer smashed elaborately/ wrought and jeweled eggs/ of the incinerated fallen
angels/ all this left behind piling up in your gaze of doubt and wonder/ (ashes in the air)/
now so bereft so full of sorrow

from my body the scent of the dense humid/ loamy forest on the mountain/ (with its
myriads of bodies living and dying/ failing and coming back to life) in all its seasons and
saecula saeculorum since her (our Mother’s) birth /

also with the falling stars and rising moon and volcano plumes (from the molten earth
beneath)/ in one instant compressed/ so it may enter identifiable and lasting into human
sense/ remembered vision/ (so much death)

I am departing into darkness as (once aloft)/ I remake the air/ I have harvested
the bales of
sunlight from their fields/ so they will never be again/

I am about to leave/ (while here the night like forever will remain)/ to become
(at first a nondescript) seed somewhere else/ wherever I might land or lose my power to
go on/ (then letting the wings fold to re-ensheath me)/ as a hard shell needing burial/
with all of the debris/ of all I have passed through/

pressing me seamlessly/ into the extinction of what I had been (your cosmos too/ even
what lay within you I made a path through/ accumulating you into myself)/ (grieving all
the while) and there captured/

in some alien landscape of creation/ I shall begin anew/ thus I shall find hope/ I shall
permit myself to become a new earth/ taking root from me/ (but you never believed me/
when I told you I could fly)

so last what I wanted to see from above/ was what I was losing/ you whole/ my smooth
chested naked bronze and brown skin/ glowing naked long limbed beautiful boy/ the
human one / embers of tawny gold black and brown and fire red/ errantly flying up from
you in sparks/ touching me with hurt/

singeing my wings as I looked down/ back at you/ ( back at you)/ born of the past and
burning earth arms out/ imploring me never (please, please never) to go/

(but you never believed me/ when I told you I could fly/ I could fly)

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