How My Father Taught Me to Fly

He rustled his papers
and ignored my screams
as my mother amputated
the small wings
freshly grown
from my shoulder blades.


He said nothing
as I howled in rage,
a slap on the face
the only anesthetic
for the surgery
to remove my dreams.


He smoked his cigarettes
in peace and calm
as I wept mourning
the loss of flight.


When I brought home
a busted vacuum cleaner,
the spent canisters
of water heaters
and the elements
of ancient ovens,
when I cannibalized
the old radio
in the basement
that never worked
            —he snorted.


“What are you doing?”
            he demanded.

And I ignored him.


Because you do not tell
men made of clay
that you know the secret
of building rockets.

What are you looking for?