Penelope's Firebird Weft
Red linen wings: orange, long, draping the back of shoulders like a raincoat. It is not the dust, not human ashes in vessels heavy with gray teeth and a chip of bone. Bring out the pencils and remake a self. For the school play, we repainted the stage black every year. When the Doctor missed his entrance because he was backstage pressed between the full-length mirror and the curtain rod hanging with zip-up calico dresses, his mouth open and warm, someone had to keep talking, saying drawing room, drawing room, become the strange person who suddenly had an opinion about scalloped potatoes, three-volume novels, Stravinsky, who wrote forte, forte, forte, forte five times in the end of L’oiseau de feu, louder than any voice, loud enough for the trumpets to crack their pealing calls, look—look at the wings, look the ashes part, look, the sharp eyes, the feathers open, shake the tree leaves like me, the way I was, walking to school in the light carrying the folded backpack loose across my shoulders. A chip of bone. I am waiting for the cue, the thin baton you can buy from a catalog and practice with. Grinding my teeth down, practicing scales so my fourth finger can become strong. When I buy a yellow rose, when I answer the phone, when I stand on a drainpipe, when I think the blues in the stained-glass window glow true, when I open my mouth, I see white smoke, smoke next to the diesel truck, smoke inside my red sweater folded in a drawer, smoke rising from my dirty underwear heaped in the corner, smoke trapped in my unmade bed, empty and warm, a nest of linen.