When he was first held out to me:
a trembling parcel of awkward bones,
translucent skin, inkscrawl of veins;
skein of flesh knitted both arms to his ribs.
The balls of his eyes skittered beneath glistening lids,
gummed hair in clumps the colour of hay.
Spindles of legs no use to him, his fused feet
grasping the bedsheets like fists.

Years until he learnt to translate the urge,
to restrain the soaring blood; change the course of air.
The sky quickened its vapours–
on cue, the clouds cleared a path;
he flew. Over the meadow his burgeoning form
thrown back by the early brook;
grey shadow cloaking the cows, awestruck as penitents.
It was the day my boy was seven.

A shrill you can hear half a mile away,
when his rolled tongue flits across ungiving palate
and he whistles; struggling to trace the shapes of words.
Across the rumble and dip of green fields, corn fields,
hidden fields of crows; nothing has moved for centuries
but my boy, his shadow dripping from a stove–in abbey,
window–places gaping like unearthed skulls–
the reilig he roars through.

But the fear looms each morning
that he will keep on for the eye–line,
soar against the burning haze of the horizon,
brimming red as his first–opened eyes;
rise against the gathering clouds like ash flung from fire,
all aspect of his soul in ascension, sun–flared;
his shrill and keen growing fainter
until only heard in dream.

Published in 'Crannóg'