Michelle Reale

Upon arrival she'd begun to think the shiny white bandages she'd wrapped herself in (all the rage back home) might have been a mistake. The stocky woman at the airport counter wore hair like animal fur. The men were tall and pale, just like the men at home. They appeared intrigued, with faces set for battle.
What are you here for? The woman in blue asked, her brass buttons shining.
I am spreading my wings, she said, fluttering her long thin arms in gentle arcs.
Her red synthetic wig held her thoughts in place.
Later, in the long shadow of yet another bleak afternoon, she counted on the red swollen tips of her cold, cold fingers, the minutes like hours, the woman and the men laughing, waving her through to her new home. She could never forget their glassy, bear-like eyes, crinkly in the corners with the kind of mirth she wished she could feel.
Now, she looks up at the sky and sees planes like steely coffins. She wraps vulnerability around her like a cloak. She hums home, home, home. She ages at warp speed, but likes to imagine time has stopped for her parents, for the others she left behind. She forgives them, but she can't remember for what.