It was the best kite we’d made, at least
the only one that flew. An old tablecloth,
needle and thread, bamboo canes,
string and folded strips of newspaper
for the tail. As a man yelled,
It’s too heavy to fly, the sky lifted it effortlessly
out of our clumsy hands. It climbed the wind’s ladder,
rising above the impurities of coal.
Through squinting eyes, we could see its silhouette
under a sunburned cloud. We were butterflies
playing as children, flying through each other’s minds,
pulling the wind from the sky.
When the sun whispered its last dream, and the moon
was too heavy to tow, the umbilical cord broke.
We walked home under an indifferent sky, wondering
if our kite would ever reach the ground.
And in our beds, we were butterflies again,
though our wings invisible from each other’s eyes.
We talked of how easy it was to fly, made finger shadows
on a dark wall, daring light to interrupt our thoughts,
afraid to sleep in case we woke again as children.

Rowland Hughes ©