“The Wings” ~Denise Levertov

Something hangs in back of me,
I can’t see it, can’t move it.

I know it’s black,
a hump on my back.

It’s heavy. You
can’t see it.

What’s in it? Don’t tell me
you don’t know. It’s

what you told me about–
black

inimical power, cold
whirling out of it and

around me and
sweeping you flat.

But what if,
like a camel, it’s

pure energy I store,
and carry humped and heavy?

Not black, not
that terror, stupidity

of cold rage; or black
only for being pent there?

What if released in air
it became a white

source of light, a fountain
of light? Could all that weight

be the power of flight?
Look inward: see me

with embryo wings, one
feathered in soot, the other

blazing ciliations of ember, pale
flare-pinions. Well–

could I go
on one wing,

the white one?

~Denise Levertov