Surreal Numbers

By S. Brackett Robertson

There were feathers in her sleeve, first

feathers and —

she scattered when upset,


She knew the feeling of frustration,

the urge to run, hide her shifting face

expressions out of control.

Other people worried she couldn’t think then

keep thoughts orderly, one two three

they didn’t know her thoughts always dance


It was only after the feathers first appeared

that she learned to flock

maybe if the fear and rage were diffuse

they wouldn’t cause so many questions

so much distrust.

I know that feeling,

when I’m about to become infinite

encompass the land.

Or when I will shrink down

try to hide my wingspan

fly far from the world.

I remember that first shattering

when words were thrown at my defenses

breaking them into pieces.

As if it was my fault I scattered.

They said I was manipulating just by being broken.

I’ve tried to collect the pieces now,

unite feathers with skin.

Am I fraying at the edges

spiraling away into the sky?

I send my flocks of thoughts away

(The birds are infinite, each smaller than the last)

so I can spend time on another wire

another ledge

overlook others’ lives.


S. Brackett Robertson lives near many bodies of water. Brackett‘s work has previously appeared in Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Inkscrawl, and Stone TellingBrackett enjoys museums and math and occasionally tweets at sbrackettr.