A farmer and his wife, barren past their youth
Find a young swan with hurt wing and take it home.
They place a box for a bed just inside their front door
And feed it rice before they retire,
Saddened by the fearful noise it made when they picked it up,
Glad to be able to help,
Glad to offer love.
In the morning on a rug inside their front door,
A teenage girl curls beside the empty box,
Sleeps fitfully dreaming, she says when she wakes,
Of water like a mirror in the morning sun
And a strange but lovely face she did not know
Staring up at her from below the water's surface
And dreaming, she says, of open space.
It's like falling up instead of down.
Father, she says, can I have more rice?
And, Mother, these clothes feel strange.
Can you show me how to wear them?
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