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When you adorned your insomnia-riddled
nights with fantasies of flight
you were only thinking of the freedom.
The power to leave and not return,
and maybe the option to return, at will
within a moment’s communiqué from
mind to body, needing nothing else.
You weren’t thinking that it might
require a sacrifice, or the almost
life-ending anguish of metamorphosis—
that to most creatures blessed with
what you so envy, the state of being
where altitudes and abandon are
second nature and freedom is cadence
to the blood is more like another life,
an unpromised emergence on the other side
after squeezing through a near-fatally
narrow passage of hopelessness and
divestment of reason. Draining one’s
own life force for a dangerous new world
one has never seen or known to exist.
You merely wanted another pair of
appendages, one that is fluent in
the capriciousness of the stratosphere;
you still want to keep your hands,
your feet, and the strength in them you
take for granted, the slope of your shoulders
tracing the landscape of terrain-driven legends.
You think your same old heart will just beat,
beat, beat in sync with your new wings? But
the body of your finiteness is too full to do
justice to everything you would witness. You
would no longer be you. The roads to bliss you
so treasure would be far beneath you. Your
flesh will reverberate to a different pleasure,
a different pain. You might realize that you
have exchanged one lonely place for another.
And that the sky is less pure than you ever

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