You can’t miss something if it comes back by Frankie McMillan

My sister said she was coming back as a bird, that way she’d be able to see what was happening from above, be able to see our house, me dawdling to school, mama in the yard, papa smoking as he rode his bike and maybe later the family would get rich and go out on the lake on a motor boat looking at birds with binoculars and saying things like,  my goodness, that’s a short tailed petrel, I didn’t know they flew out that far and then my sister said she’d perch on the boat wheel, perfectly still, looking wise, that’s how we’d know it was her  and when she asked me what I’d come back as, I’d say I’m not dying, and true, she said then she stood up on the kitchen table, testing her wings and mama screamed  as she flapped her arms and papa tried to pull her down but I was laughing as I ran to open the door … I was already thinking of those binoculars, how I’d follow her across the skies, how she couldn’t stop me, couldn’t turn around to slap me, or if she did it would only be a feather tickle and make me laugh even harder.

Frankie McMillan is a poet and short fiction writer from Aotearoa New Zealand. Her latest book, The Wandering Nature of Us Girls, (Canterbury University Press) was published in August, 2022.

A hummingbird in mid-flight

Photo by Frank Cone.

Share This