Swallowing Starlight

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Little boy, I watch him amble through silt
and waterlilies carefully following a long
necked crane. No shoes, he holds in a cry
from slicing his toes on the sharp edges
of rock shelf hidden under the brown water
of a lake waiting to be dredged.
Approaching the crane, he takes the form
of the great bird bending his neck and flapping
his arms—his steps become slow—his fair
hair now white downy feathers.
Then he sees me and pauses.
The starlight slides off his back
and pools around his webbing feet.
He stretches his wings, his eyes challenge me
as if to say follow. Swallowing starlight,
I also try to become an ancient god.
Instead, I mirror his spread wings with slumped
arms and a wavering body.