A Poem for Flying Girls

Flying Girl and The Soul Moving, or He Says It’s Ten Mile River, limited edition print by Rowena Murillo.


The feathers are there,
the potential for brilliant flight,
and in my dreams I see her,
running along the sidewalk in front of our house,
arms spread wide,
tips of tennis shoes skimming the asphalt runway of our street,
then effortlessly rising,
up, up, up,
over the swaying grasses of these coastal hills,
honeyed hair streaming behind,
as she soars over the Pacific,
her form silhouetted by the sun.

And my heart swells with joy then,
in my dreams where I see her fly,
grateful to have leaned in close enough,
to feel the soft brush of feathers,
I stretch upward on my toes now,
squinting into the sun,
jumping then at the last I too catch a little air,
as she disappears from view,
both of us

My handicapped daughter was the inspiration for this poem.  She’s going to be thirteen next month and is confined to a wheelchair.  I’ve had the most vivid dreams where she walks, and talks, and dances with her skirt twirling around her knees.   This is a poem about my dreams for her, about my gratitude for being able to know her, to feel her gentleness.  I hope that it might also resonate with anyone who wishes for a child to fly – fearless and unfettered.

The  artwork featured at the top of the post is by the artist Rowena Murillo, who has a series of work based on flying girls.  Lovely.

You can see them at


  1. What a beautiful image of your daughter that poem creates.

    And I love the painting. It’s a great metaphor for what I feel like I would hope to help accomplish some day. To give wings to my daughters and all women by removing any obstacles and chains that keep them from soaring.

  2. I appreciate your comments and am glad you enjoyed it. Caroline mentioned the last couple of lines. I was eluding to the fact that the mother of a handicapped child is also confined or restricted. I think the parents of disabled children frequently feel ashamed to admit this. People want to hear about how much the handicapped person blesses our lives. How positive the experience is for our family. How it is not a burden but a blessing. We revere those who shoulder these things and never complain. Well, I do see this experience as a blessing but I wanted to show that the mother is also fettered in many ways. Having a child in a wheelchair is more obvious or literal way of being restricted but I think this is true of any parent who sees that their child is not reaching their potential.

  3. Oh, I love this poem and the accompanying picture! It conveys the restrictions that a handicapped child (and parent) deal with and yet, the message is universal to the wishes all parents have for their children.

    Thank you, Rebecca.

  4. I love this, Rebecca. My favorite part is about being grateful to have leaned in

    “close enough,
    to feel the soft brush of feathers”

    So much tenderness in that phrase. And it makes me think of the secret pride I feel at knowing and appreciating my own children better than anyone else. Thanks for sharing. My eyes got all watery.

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