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Atlas Escaping

by Laura Bowden

Your hands are still those of a child,
Like mine,
With palms too soft and fingers too fragile
To hold the world. 

So instead you cradle a little blue button
Dressed with a star, reminding me of
Our childhood costume jewelry, now
Traded for belly rings and tattoos, and I watch
You swallow your world whole.

And off you fly, riding childhood
Fairy wings, stained with these stars,
Like an angel falling
Into paradise.

If you were still you in front of me,
Wearing plastic stars or sitting quiet on the dock,
I would look at your fragile wings,
Wouldn’t stare at your fingers and demand,
When did you make your world so heavy?

Then your eyelashes flutter as you heave
Your gaze up from your lap
And laugh,
What’s a girl like you doing in this place?