ysabetwordsmith: Sheba with parrot wings (fledgling grace)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the March 1, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie.  It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. This poem belongs to the series Fledgling Grace.

Warning for references to child abandonment and discrimination.


"Pinfeathers"


When babies began to be born
with tiny, naked wings and tails,
at first the people rejoiced at
the sign of God's work.

But when the pinfeathers grew in,
sometimes they revealed
uncomfortable truths.

Then the adults began to realize
that this gift came with a price.

Not every child had the grand wings
of eagles or peacocks or pheasants,
or even the humble and common
sparrows, doves, and chickens that
made up so much of the world.

There were baby goths in vulture wings.

There were infants with plumage
that hinted of hidden ancestry.

There were henfeathered boys
and girls with cockerel plumes
curling proudly over their hips.

There were parents who couldn't cope with it.

Some of the children were abandoned
when their pinfeathers opened out into
colors or shapes displeasing to adults.

They were abandoned on doorsteps
or in daycare, left on street corners,
and when older, sometimes they
ran away on their own volition
rather than staying at home,
unwelcome and unwanted.

Yet for every parent who rejected a child
for somehow not being what was desired,
not having some privileged plumage,
there was someone else who
longed for a child of any kind.

There were would-be parents
who haunted the group homes
and the adoption agencies, who
didn't care what plumage a child
had or didn't have, only that there
was a child in need of parents
just as they needed a child.

They only wanted an opportunity
to build a future together,
just like any family.

In the end, family of choice was
the ultimate exercise of free will:

God might put angel wings on people,
but it was people who decided
what to do about them.

* * *

Notes:

Pinfeathers are new feathers that haven't opened up yet. Watch a video of feather development.

Child abandonment occurs for many reasons; often the child is unwanted due to some undesirable trait.

painful, but optimistic

Date: 2016-03-06 08:17 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Of course, I'm rooting for found-families and families-of-choice along with the families who decide that their child is more important than its wing type!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-03-06 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I'm glad someone sponsored this one! I was seriously considering snagging it myself.

Was it Janetmiles who prompted this one, or me, or both of us?

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-03-06 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Aha! gotcha.

You know, I'm glad babies don't seem to be born with bat rather than bird wings in this universe or at least, aren't referenced in this poem. I know I mentioned bat wings in my original prompt, but somehow, evil from day one doesn't seem to fit the setting, so whew.

Don't ask me why, but the image of baby goths in black and silver vulture wings is more adorable every time I think of it. And I'm now picturing a dozen same-sex couples and triads, not to mention aces of any gender(s), practically lining up to adopt the hen- and rooster-feathered kids left behind, and the ones whose plumage showed hidden ancestry. ... <3
Edited Date: 2016-03-06 11:33 pm (UTC)

Ducks, for changes in plumage at puberty?

Date: 2018-05-29 01:23 am (UTC)
librarygeek: cute cartoon fox with nose in book (Default)
From: [personal profile] librarygeek
I am watching a gosling grow up between its Canada Goose parents, and thought that the yellow fluffball wouldn't be recognizable as the Canada Goose without the parents watching over it so carefully.

I can tell with a few ducks, the difference between males and females, and still the ducklings look different than either. (Can you tell I have a pond on my regular walk with a dog who likes making the birds fly?)

I have the ace aro agender teen, who wants to be a airplane pilot. Is there a bird with those drastic plumage changes like the ducklings, and likes long migrations? Something that would change at puberty, but would still not be identifiable as either male or female, but have elements of both?

SlytherClaw Teen wants to fly, to travel, to see the world. I would have some plumage of the turkey vulture knowingly walking with the Angel of Death even as a young child. My husband ought to be a Viking's seafarer bird.

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