The black wings arc together like a tent you can enter.
Inside it would be beyond gloomy, the feathers on the ceiling
and walls refusing a glimpse of moonlight, refusing even
a crack for the flicker of the fire to remind you of warmth.
It was always there though for the longest time
I pretended not to notice. Instead of stepping inside
I turned away, wore the face of a person who refuses
such a place, the face of one who has never even seen
those wings, more huge than any in the bird book.
People believed I was one who could laugh
and walk in the woods with a dog or two—
a woman whose heavy steps left footprints that filled
and washed away before their depth could be noticed.
People stopped wondering why I avoided feathers
or how I managed to sidestep their awful unmaking.
One day I walked a well-known path through beech woods
the ground squelching, afternoon sliding into dusk.
For years I’d neglected the memory of black feathered wings
but that day as I climbed the stile that led from the trees
into the three-acre field they appeared in the sky.
Buffeted by the breeze they floated down
and settled in front of me. Their archway beckoned.