Flying Away

I’m going to the zoo with my four-year-old
granddaughter. The first stop will be the flamingos
that stand in a pool right inside the entrance—

the official zoo greeters. They’re noisy
and, well, they’re pink. Who doesn’t want
to watch tall skinny pink birds stand on one leg?

Did you know a group of flamingos
is called a flamboyance? Certainly fitting.
They’re a star attraction for kids and adults, too.

The four-year-old, of course, has to try
standing on one leg. Not as easy for her
as for the flamingo, but it makes

a great picture when I can get
the flamingos and the four-year-old
in the same photo. Then she asks,

“Why don’t they fly away? They must really
like it here.” And I tell her, “I’m sure they like
living where all these people visit them.”

I don’t tell her their wings are clipped
to prevent them from flying. I don’t tell her
that one time a flamingo who had just arrived

at a zoo flew away before having
its wings clipped and, for years after,
was occasionally spotted “in the wild.”

I don’t tell her that I hope no one ever
clips her wings and that I wish her the chance
to live in whatever wild place she chooses.

Fran Abrams’ poems have been published in Cathexis-Northwest Press, The Raven’s Perch, Delmarva Review, and Gargoyle, among others, and in over a dozen anthologies. In December 2021, she won the Washington Writers Publishing House Winter Poetry Prize for her poem Waiting for Snow. In July 2022, her poem Arranging Words was a finalist in the 2022 Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry. Her autobiographical poetry book titled I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir was published in November 2022. Her chapbook, The Poet Who Loves Pythagoras, was released in April 2023. She read at the Kensington, MD, Day of the Book Festival in April 2023. She also read at the Gaithersburg, MD, Book Festival in May 2023.  Visit for more.