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in a dream, i am born with wings. i keep telling my mother about this dream but she’s talking about the outside again. i see flickers of it sometimes in the gaps between my fingers. nowadays, my mother covers my ears as well so the sound of gunshots turn fuzzy and it’s almost like my brother is calling me through the clouds. when this happens, i softly whisper back to him and my mother looks at me with her mouth pulled tight.
i have this other dream where i buy my mother a castle. i don’t know where i get the money from and it doesn’t matter. maybe in this dream, sand is a currency that everyone has. so this castle is made out of glass and there is a turret right up at the top and i run and run up to it. my brother is running with me too and the glass reflects in all directions so there is a rainbow across my eyes and skin. when i reach the top, i see land stretching out in all directions. it is like the world is a compass and my glass castle is at the centre and for the first time in my life, everything is quiet.
my brother died in the water. i was only twelve. my mother came home sobbing and i asked her what was wrong. she just said his name over and over again and i stared at the floor. they had gone out across the ocean trying to find somewhere like my castle. i sat there trying to remember what the last thing my brother said to me was. it felt like the most important task in that moment even as my mother lay there, eyes filling with rain. after a while, i gave up on remembering and settled on, goodbye. i slept with the taste of salt in my mouth.
in a dream, my wings are like eagle wings. they are a proud tawny shade of brown. i spread out my arms and my fingers but even then, i cannot touch the edge of my own wings. they are that great, that grand. my feathers are softer than anything i have ever touched and the wind whispers through them like a slow dance. they are even better than glass; they do not break. and when it is time to fly, my brother says to me, fly, little bird. and i fly and i fly and i never fall.
i imagine many other parallel versions of me are not so lucky
in my dreams we go swimming
there are fireflies in the water and they spark and fizzle like shooting stars
i watch them till the earth tilts backwards and suddenly i am the sky and the southern cross the ocean
for once i am not scared of drowning
i keep making wishes on the same dark sea
we lie there breathing in the condensation on our skin as if we have more time