From the Ground It Must Have Looked Like Its Wings Were Not a Part of It

I rode to Heaven on a bird that did-

n’t look like any bird I ever saw

Before I saw it    the bird’s wings    were wide

And long and brightly    colored and had no


Feathers but    panels    like glass    held together

By black bones criss-    crossing them from the ground

They must have looked like stained glass flying to Heaven

Church windows carrying    a black bird’s wing-


less body and my body up    between them

The bird’s    body was black as the night sky

Was back    when I was running with my momma

Before I wouldn’t    run no more and she

Beat me and Mrs. Davis saw and took me

Like glass    like any hard thing    would’ve broke them




Copyright © 2019 Shane McCrae. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, March/April 2019. Reprinted with permission of the author.