“The Kite” by Joy Merchant
field of grass
spreads out below her feet.
The owl’s wings open to the wind.
She picks up her pace. The owl at her back. The cotton string vibrates. Unwinding. The owl takes flight. Her cheeks redden. She stops, turns around. She tugs the line. The owl lifts higher.
Breathing heavy. Eyes to the sky. White nylon wings in the sun. The children catch up. Laughing. Yelling. She pulls the line. The owl dips and dances. The fiberglass spine bends. The children go
still. Entranced. She reels in the line. The owl comes ever closer. A gust takes hold. The owl plummets. Gasps from the children. She smiles as she pulls the line. Tension on the bridle. The owl
veers right. Dips. Soars. She lets loose the line. The owl flies steady.
Slowly. She reels in the line. The owl still aloft, she gives
the spool to the children.
Laughing. The grassy field
spreads out below their feet.
The owl at their backs.