While Drinking Sangria

Poetry

I measure your wingspan. We split a pitcher of thick sangria. You say the circus stole your identity, wiped you off the grid and, in exchange, gave you rust-feathered flappers. Wings made of dog bones and plastic flutes, lamp posts and tin foil. You resemble an angel created in a landfill.

As soon as you were able, you escaped the circus. “On foot?” I ask, slicing more fruit. “These don’t fly,” you say, a piece of chicken wire falling from your shoulder and onto the floor. “They’re just for show.” You’re afraid of what the future might sculpt. The wings are connected to you in a way that they can’t be removed unless you want to lose both limbs.

Away from the circus, the wings stick out like vending machines in a desert. You wear massive sweatshirts to job interviews and no one calls you back. You’ve been considering odd assignments like throwing people down the stairs.

We act so haphazardly when we’re promised anonymous wings.

“Years from now,” you say, sculpting a bar of soap into a hand grenade, “when I finally decide to jump from a plane without a pack and really test out these bastards, you’ll be miles below, alone, laughing in the grass, certain I’m finally flying.”