Hope is a Heavy Burden, Lay it on Me by Mariya Kika
Flying only has meaning in its defiance. Defiance against falling, against weights, chains, clambering hands. What honour would it hold if not for the battle against gravity? Flying defied the weight of life, the strength of gravity, the chains of society. It had been my salvation. I pumped my wings, small, trembling, weak until I broke through clouds—rising, rising, rising. I was weightlessness, defiance, freedom. Rebirth in a cocoon of feathers and temerity. Stronger, gentler, prouder. My shoulders broadened, ready to carry burdens not my own, ready to lift the weight from the meek, struggling, subjugated. My wings were wider, meant to comfort, meant for those bleeding and scarred, scared and haunted. Abandoned. As I had been. My shadow would not be their night, but a pinprick of hope from above. A destination, a journey, a pursuer. My wings would not be weapons against them, they were meant for them. Meant for those staggering, failing few with life’s anchor latched onto bruised ankles, catching in dirt, insecurities, pain. I am their hope, breaking through clouds to heal them, to see them, to be with them in their suffering. To ease their pain, for just a moment. I am not a symbol, I am not their hero, I am not a false promise. I find these few, these sweet idealists with fingertips outstretched, hoping to catch a piece of the sky within their palms for these are the ones life has most failed. These starry-eyed hopefuls who’ve yet to catch at the sky, unattainable as it is. These few, instead, find in their palms a single feather, a reminder of hopes, dreams, whole futures unexplored. A reminder in their pocket that salvation is only a wingspan away, above and beyond, following, tracing, cheering. That I am waiting, that they will join me, that I am with them, a shadow above, even if no other falls into step beside them.
Mariya is a young creative and student based in Toronto. Her writing centers around healing, rage, and family. When not writing or attending class, she enjoys bothering her cat and staring out windows. Her work has appeared in such publications as Pyre Magazine, the Fiery Scribe Review, and Brave Voices Magazine. She can be found on Twitter @mariyakeeka.