William Kelley Woolfitt reflects on boyhood and the ecstasy of possibility.
Boy with Kite
Thirteen years old and bundled
against the chill, he pastes rags and papers
to a frame that’s cockeyed, loose,
all droop and strange angles.
What the kite needs is a breeze to rise.
Sticks poking out, paper ripping,
it catches the smallest blown breath
like a dead leaf taking to flame,
and swings from his hands, swoops and glides.
He runs forward, unreels the spool. Someday,
he will go out, and instead of this wind
so cold it might be from heaven’s iced dome,
there will be a girl, freckled, brunette,
quick eyes and feet, warm as the blue
mittens on his hands, glad to run
alongside him, to fling puffball dust
at him in the ironweed fields,
and curl against him as he sleeps.
If he goes on running, it will
take him to a joy that breaks him.
He reels in the wind-torn kite
before it lifts him from his skin.
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(previously appeared in The Salvager’s Arts and in Apalachee Review)
Photo by newfierebel / Flickr