Image by Boudhayan Bardhan

AMBERWINGS

melissa nunez

They are silent, swarming, the memories like dragonflies.
Slipping into shadow; sliding back to sunlight.
Some swerve swiftly out of sight, others
—all stasis—hum honey in the air. Glinting amber,
gleaming gold—wings crystalline as spun sugar. And now

it seems, glittering strands extended from wing, they weave
connectivity—jewels studding lace. A pulsing veil
like shroud descends, and I walk staggered step, dip
and sway, avoid impacting gloss of membrane. To swat
is to be snared; to touch is to be taken. I seek shelter
in self, hunker down, the only sound my heart keeping
pace the past. I breathe deep but the beat flurries
my brain, flutters my lobes. I reach for release
of percussive pressure, and extract, from tip to base
an index finger’s length, the hunking hue of wax: body of
dragon

now at rest. Void of vibrations, gone are shimmer
and sheen. Bronze going green. Eyes like beaded scabs
and wings—a film of dingy suds dried before rinsed clean.
Telescopic tail jutting from thorax threatens collapse
at the slightest pressure. Cupped in palm there is no weight
to it, integrity impeded by gravity. I cannot believe
this relic, once colossal in my mind,
has over time arrived so minuscule. I cannot remember

reason, avoiding dissolution of the verge,
or why I cannot seem to let it go. But all at once I know
what must come. Hand hinges closed, squeeze and feel
it fold, pressed to powder. Fingers relaxed, bringing mortar
of hand to mouth, with tongue scoop and swallow. For a
moment

I feel I am flying, but it is only wind
sweeping this hollow husk home.

Melissa Nunez lives and writes in the caffeinated spaces between awake and dreaming. She makes her home in the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas, where she enjoys observing and exploring the local flora and fauna with her three home-schooled children.

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