Laura Rock Gaughan
Murmurations for a Grown Daughter
Driving my daughter to the airport, encased in the sacred
space of our car, we’re flying past multi-lane highway threats—
all the normal hazards—when the birds swoop down
shadowing our way. Black rain if raindrops could rise after falling,
a twisting blanket if blankets unwove themselves in the air.
The transformed sky sends us out of our lane. I course-correct,
pull at the wheel to achieve lift-off as if I were the pilot
of the flight I’m racing to make. Guiding our capsule up,
up to join the great murmuring and leave
this world of schedules and machines,
even motherhood with its limited line of sight.
The birds disappear as motorcycles swarm the road
behind us, weaving in-and-out warnings, dragging us
through traffic that submits to a superior roar.
Impossible to identify the one threat that will matter.
Assault of sound without beginning or end, filling my head
with pressure. And then it does end. The road clears.
I release my daughter to her journey, to joy
and other mysteries of survival.
We’re propelled by forces we barely understand:
to board a flight, to rise into the air and land again.
The wonder of arrival into each new atmosphere,
wind-drift clouds we pretend to steer.
Laura Rock Gaughan is the author of a short-story collection, MOTHERISH, which was published in 2018. Her fiction, essays, and poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including CutBank, CRAFT Literary, Southword, The New Quarterly, and U of T Magazine (online), among others. She lives in Lakefield, Ontario with her family.