by Elisavietta Ritchie


"He asked me to fly to Bangkok with him,"
giggles the nurse. I picture my father's
wheel chair sprouting aluminum wings,
his skeletal shoulders growing feathers
scarlet, vermilion, green
like a swan sired by a parrot.

"I hope you agreed to fly with him,"
I answer. "He was a famous explorer."
She laughs, slaps her plump palms
against her white uniform.
"Lord, what a spaced out
i mag in a tion your daddy's got!"

His blue eyes watch us. I smooth
wisps of hair like down on his skull.
My mad daddy...Here are
the springs of my imagination.
At eighty four may I too
have license for madness.

Meanwhile I wheel his chair
to his place at the table
between old Mrs. Silverman
screaming "Sugar! Coffee! More milk "
and Muggsy sloshing soup on his neighbor.
I set the brakes, fasten his seat belt.

Although my father insists that this trip
he would rather have curry and beer
or smoked eel and vodka,
I spoon pureed liver and unsalted limas
into his mouth quickly before
his fingers explore the plate.

* * * *
Downstairs, in the Ladies Room,
by mistake I enter the oversized stall
with handrails, high commode
and the blue and white "Handicapped" sign.
But will there be space enough here
for my wings?

-Originally appeared in Home Planet News.