2018 Spring LC Magazine

CON L I T E R A T U R E . T H E A T R E . A R T CON N E C T Following is an excerpt from “Fire Is Your Water.” Cicero is an injured and rescued raven who learns to read and speak. He is a trickster as well as a truth-teller with much to say. Here’s his meditation on a feather. Cicero on Feathers Jim Minick ’86 Think about it. A feather is such a simple thing—all lightness and what looks like frill, all of it attached to a hollow bone. If you hold it to the light, you can almost see through that bone. Hard to believe what a feather can do. And don’t you forget what a feather used to do—it wrote your words, lots of them, letters spilling over pages. All of it for you, you thankless crooks. Your forefathers plucked it from some hapless goose and called it a quill. Then they used it to write your declaration of independence. Yet there they were, dependent on a lowly feather to sign all of their names. Poor goose. Where’s her name? But enough of that. When I preen, I run my bill over each dibble and nub, each separate flange. I can feel the pockets of possibility, the way they all knit together to form one dark strand. And I realize that a feather is a flame with a spine and ribs. Or maybe a feather, a black one anyway, is the ghost of a flame. Like you’re sitting around a campfire at night, staring at that space between each flicker. There a flicker disappears, and that space of emptiness becomes a black feather full of stars. So a feather is just a spark to ignite the air. My god of all wrinkled mountains, I can’t wait to fly again. 48 LYCOMING COLLEGE 2018 SPRING MAGAZINE