Blow the feather, blow the feather, not too hard, not too soft. An occasional scooch of my buns to the left or the right. This my spot on the stoop, a wooden stoop, the kind with splinters. The kind you don’t sit on when you are wearing your “show it all off” shorts.
Blow the feather, blow the feather. The feather drifts perilously close to the end of my nose. Pigeon feathers are easy to find, but my dad says that the fluff from a magpies ear works the best. He gave me this one, though I don’t know where he got it. A curling tendril of the fluff flirts with the corner of my upper lip, not touching or maybe touching, tickling just the same. If I sweat too much in the afternoon sun, the feather might stick. My feather, my sweat, my splintery stoop.
Blow the feather, blow the feather. Yelling, banging, complaining, moaning, I hear it. In there, inside the house, I am not very good. It is here, on the stoop, that I rule. The smell of barbecue might be strong, but strong enough for me to let the feather land? Maybe for ribs, if watermelon comes next, or strawberry shortcake.
Blow the feather, blow the feather. It’s not that I don’t notice the green of the grass, or the way the dandelions are perfect little suns, or the entire zoo of clouds that march by in the late spring sky. The sky is so bright, the black of my feather standing out like Uncle Ben, the only white man in his Memphis jazz quartet. I see things alright. I soak them in like Maribell, the psychic down the street, without really having to notice them full on. It gives me strength like a superhero, easily holding the universe aloft with my breath.
Blow the feather, blow the feather. Two hundred and ninety-two, just thirty shy of my record. My mom calls through the ratty screen door, it’s time to go. Twenty-four short. Mom bursts out the door with a squeak, a rattle and a bang, her foot kicking the small of my back as the feather floats gently to the sidewalk in front of the stoop. My stoop, my feather. I pick it up and put it under an upside down tuna fish can under the lowest step. What’s more important, the feather or my dance lessons? I can’t decide at that moment. Tomorrow I will surely blow the feather until it is time for dance lessons, maybe I will know by then. Until then, I dance.