This poem was inspired by the prompt given at Imaginary Gardens For Real Toads: Watch the Corners which was based around the song by Dinosaur Jr of the same name. While I could go with Watch the Corners for the song choice, instead I'm going to go with the song that had me bawling when I was pregnant with my now college-bound son, You'll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins, from the movie Tarzan, because that was really the first time I knew that someday my baby boy was going to grow up.
The first time I time traveled
to the fall of 2018 in my mind
was when your father whispered,
“Look around. Any one of these
could be future family.”
I saw you, with your grandfather’s smile
on your young brown skinned face,
putting down your video games with an ease
you never showed when your father or I asked
to follow a smiling face to adventures unknown.
I traveled again, to the fall of 1990,
when I smiled at your father. We didn’t know
about the spring of 1995. “Just friends,” was what we said.
After all, I was dating someone else,
and if your father(‘s family) had ever time traveled,
he (they) had never seen someone like me
standing under a canopy next to him in the future.
My family was equally surprised.
My heart got broken and mended,
just as yours probably will.
Then I time traveled again, to fall 1999
when I vowed to keep you safe, knowing
there’s only so much a mother can do,
even if she plays video games, watches Pokemon,
and makes time to talk about the small things
to make it easier to talk about the big ones.
I know in the fall of 2018, I will crack jokes.
I’ll be the laid back mom you leaned on
through every big change that came before.
We got through everything as long as we could
laugh about it, even if we cried a little too.
I’ll cry a little in 2018. But I’ll show you
this poem in the winter of 2019, once you’ve settled in.
We’ll joke, “Dear gods! What will we do
in the fall of 2021?” while having your favorite dinner.
Hopefully the taste of rosemary will remind me
to enjoy that moment, and let the future take care of itself.
Sophia’s skin pulled tighter over her shoulders and the first tears formed along either side of her spine. It was time. She threw off her pajamas and climbed onto the tree outside her window, making her way to the limb that would give her back the most exposure to the full moon’s light. Finding the branch that held her teeth marks from full moons past, she bit down. Her emerging wings pushed through, widening the tears into gashes. She bit down harder, until a pair of amethyst colored wings fully unfurled themselves.
Relaxing her jaw, Sophia pulled her mouth away from the branch and rested. She opened and closed her wings slowly and let them drink in healing moonlight while her heightened senses picked up the perfume of every flower in her backyard. Once her wings were strong enough, she pushed away from the branches and flew.
Sophia soared over her street, the feel of the wind on her skin wiping away any lingering aches she had. She flew high enough to take in most of her small town in a glance. Her high school was easy to get to, but Sophia decided she didn’t want to waste her time on pranks again. Tonight she wanted to spend every moment in the air. So she did, flying until the moon had gone down behind the hills of the next town over.
Her grin disappeared as soon as her feet touched down at home. Sophia ran her fingers along the edge of a wing. The longest she had kept them was three days, when her parents were away. But tomorrow was a school day. And they grew back every month. So she went to the shed, just as she always did, and grabbed garden sheers to cut her wings off in small enough pieces to bury them in the compost bin.
This short story is part of Magaly Guerrero's and Emily Yardis' Beautiful Freak Fest 2017. Follow the link to meet some more beautifully freaky fun.