Waiting to Fly

I was 28 before I grew wings
Buds bursting flesh under my shoulder blades,
A strange itch at first, then later, a cancer concern,
Turning into limbs I thought first were arms.
But which lacked fingers or toes.

When the plumes appeared I plucked them
Hiding the feathers under my pillow for fear
Of people calling me crazy.

I could no longer sleep easy at night,
Each new limb poking me as I tossed and turned
Falling into excruciating pins and needles.

I dreamed of perilous flight
Where I leaped off bridge or ledge
Hoping to fly

I woke sweating, gripping the side of my bed,
Each wing inches longer
For they only grew at night

By day light, I clung to safe places,
Never climbing higher than the first floor, 
Thinking if I could avoid temptation
I might reverse the inevitable growth

To avoid attention
I used masking tape and later an ace bandage
Folding the wings out of sight under suit and tie

All too often my back bulged,
The Hunched Back of Madison Avenue,
Bent over my desk amid words of praise,
"This boy will really take off some day,"
my bosses said.

I took to bed when the bandages burst,
Wings fluttering free of all restraint,
Two feathered children born of me,
Craving things I could not crave,
Drawing me to the roof top
From which I fluttered once
And fell.

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