The halo, still fixed to my head then,
pinned to the calvarium’s fine table
of bone, almost helped me to balance.
And balance is such a fine quality.
No matter how many times my mother
recounts for me how I first learned
to walk, I have no recollection of it.
But I remember the second time I learned,
because learning to walk as an adult,
like learning anything one should learn
as a child, involves shame and embarrassment,
those snickering sisters who love to watch you fail.
To clutch the two poles alongside you, poles
parallel to the ground you stand on, you wish
you were a gymnast or at least studying
to be a gymnast. Instead, you feel
the terrible weight of yourself grappling with
the weight of yourself, one final and awful
proof for gravity. Shouldn’t a man who has wings
be immune from such things, be immune from gravity?
Shouldn’t he be able to hover in place, the wings
vibrating the way a bee’s wings do?
The need to stand, the desperate need to walk,
was embarrassing. I said so many prayers then.
I prayed to any god I thought would listen.
— c. dale young