You’re finally growing wings, extending between the hand and the body,
between each finger bone, morphing homologous to the flying mammal.
You’re clawing the men who plough you; sucking nutrients from those that
can afford you.
I can see you grounded on my ceiling, kneeling by master beds, on rich
carmine-and-indigo Turkish carpets. I can see you napping under tree
hollows; dreaming of escapades when you’re not texting your people in
palm-lined fishing villages back home. You’re nearly there! It takes six
lives living in an inverted world to reach where I am—at the roosting
corners, hanging by talons, amusing yourself with a world upside down.
Your skin burns, you hide away, but they drag you by your nimble feet,
lure you with jobs of coloring nails, polishing skins or making hair
shine like gold. Pity, you forgot it’s the land of gold—liquid
gold—where you’ve been transported, and now, you must service its
equivalent to barely survive. Of course, you get visions of the unending
poverty you were sick off, the barely-there food in your home that
spurred you to fly. But these days, you let the weight of your body be
pulled by the tendons connected to your talons, and clenched forever.
And ignore them that hurt you. In the aftermath of violent dust storms,
you remind yourself that however deep they tunnel into you, they’ll
never be able to dig gold out of your souls.
You hang laundry on clotheslines to demarcate spaces in huge sweating
halls you share with more of yourselves, and sleep like human pyramids
so the desert wind can’t dry you out.
Vinnie cries—Hey! Look!—Before the man can stroll out of her
room—leisurely, satisfied. You enter after he leaves. Can’t believe he
gave her a shimmering purse. The other girls crowd around her. Ooh!
Ahhh!—render the grimy air. You think of Abdullah who gave you a real
kiss. Does he really adore you?
So early next evening, you’re a vampire bat. You are not making an
exception; you confront Abdullah, draw blood when he doesn’t answer you.
His hit makes you fly across the room. He watches, as you spread your
digits, hang upside down, and launch yourself to flight. Do I see you
hover a second over the curled-up floral bed covers and pull the glass
Now, your squeaks bounce off the walls, the corridor with paneled
blue-and-magenta stained glass, the mosaic halls and whirl around the
other embryonic bats, blinding them.
Ah! You bid your sisters adieu! Come, I say, fly to me. You’re done
your six human lives.
Afterwards, we stretch our midnight-black wings sideways to our bodies
and hang out together on their ceilings, watching the girls still over
You hear me whisper—They’re only desert mirages.