Human Wishes

C. Dale Young


In order to prove to a hunter you are not
prey, you have to kill him. It's that simple.
There are no ifs ands or buts about it.
My shy hunter was a model for me, a model
of a man. But I am not a man.

An accident, some kind of hybrid, I am a monster.
I thank the generous god who prompted the wings
from inside my back, thank the god who
gave me the keenness of sight, the ability
to harness all of my senses, gave me speed.

I thank the woman who ran the red light,
the result being deep sleep, thank her for
crippling me, for leaving the three cracks in the bone
to be seen on an x-ray. I thank the many failures
that came of these events, because I am a grateful

thing. I am grateful. I wanted most of all to be a man,
an ordinary man. I suppose that is the most human
aspect of me, the want. Real men hunt. So, what choice
did I have but to apprentice myself to this hunter?
My shy hunter says Tell me what you see in the field.

And I do. I catalog the hiding places. I list off
the potential targets without batting an eye.
When I list him as one of the things I see,
his only response is to chuckle and remind me
he is a person and not a thing, not an animal.

There are no ifs ands or buts about it.
You already know what happens. You already know
how this story ends. How could you not? I removed
my shirt, the bandages, too. The wings unfurled.
And when I raised the rifle and told him to run, he ran.