With his head between my mother’s splayed legs,
Doctor Cheung joked, “He looks like one of mine!”
He was Chinese. I had jaundice.
My old man never laughed at that story,
through countless retellings. He’d slink away
to drink, like my skin was still dripping
yellow stains on his manliness.
My mother knew Cheung from pilot school,
years before his M.D., years before
my dad or me. Tales from her flying
days inevitably followed the story
of my jaundiced birth. As natural
to flight as an eagle, as graceful
as contrail clouds. Until she packed
away her wings, for reasons
left unspoken. With a shrug, she’d mutter
how she never feared to fall
until she met my father. Many years,
many broken marriages later,
she admitted she’d never learned
how to recover from a stall.
Ryan Stone writes after midnight in Melbourne, Australia. He lives beside Sherbrooke Forest with his wife, two young sons, a German Shepherd, and a Belgian Malinois. On daily walks through his woodland surrounds, he often falls down rabbit holes.