There is a moment
when the creature seems to disappear.
Nothing remains, but a quivering
in the air, the invisible finger
that runs your ridge of spine
My students ask if it hurts
to become another. We’ve read
the stories of humans furred,
flesh erupting to wings, or scales,
gill-gasp of transformation.
I tell them some are stories of pursuit,
a dove answered with a hawk,
a hare with greyhound as reply.
Pursuer and pursued, their deft dance
that ended once with a grain of corn,
swallowed by a hen who birthed
But what the students want to know is pain.
That remembered moment when
quills pierce skin, fingernails bleed
to claws. Beyond the window
winter’s first kiss startles the grass with frost.
I tell them yes,
there is always pain at birth or when,
our tent of flesh opens
like a door to the sky,
and something more, you must
lean close to hear
the single note of joy.
About the author: Maureen McQuerry is a teaching artist for Washington State and a gifted education specialist. She is the author of Wolfproof , (Idylls Press 2006) the first of a YA fantasy trilogy.
Copyright 2007 by Maureen McQuerry. This poem may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.