Rebecca puts on a brave face for the kids.
They don’t need her grief;
they have enough of their own.
Wiping her eyes in the mirror
she turns to the ring of cross-legged children
who stare expectantly.
“Now, I want you to pretend you have wings!
Be birds, bees and butterflies!”
She goes to the CD player and puts on
Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’.
Chaos erupts. The children run in clumsy circles
like a handful of frenzied balloons
let loose; a gift to the sky.
Arms wave with excited clucks and whoops.
She can almost see the imagined feathers
kicked up by their feet.
A million torn pillows.
But amongst the pandemonium
Rebecca sees Samuel sat hugging his knees.
She goes to join him.
“Why aren’t you flying Sam?” she whispers.
“Lost my wings, Miss,” Sam answers,
looking at the others with envy.
“You and me both,” Rebecca smiles.
“But did you know we have a set of reserve wings?”
Samuel shakes his head curiously.
“Of course. Put your hand on your chest
. . . you feel that? It’s the beating
of your reserve wings - the ones that matter the most.
Shall we try again?” She offers him her hand
and together they take to the floor.
Long after the children have gone
Rebecca presses play.
She raises her arms, staring in the mirror,
wishing a hundred marble swallowtails
would return and carry her away.