a farewell to arms

Matt Rowan

he might have waved goodbye to his arms if he still had one
to wave with.

as it was he could only nod meaningfully, an almost
imperceptible smile to his lips

goodbye, arms, he thought, as they flew away from him

fare-thee-well, arms! he shouted in his thoughts.

his arms leaving him had happened so naturally that it was
not unlike when baby birds shed their mother’s succor and
fly from the nest

never to return

his arms were never to return

somehow he knew this

he knew his arms were flying to greener pastures

he remembered the odd feeling of pain when his arms’
wings sprouted.

OW! he remembered thinking.

he remembered the wings’ slow growth and the brief sense
he had that the arms’ wings
would take him with them when they finally flew

he was excited to fly

but it was fine when his arms tore away, laces of sinewy muscle
pulled apart, and flew off
without him

he was okay that the arms weren’t strong enough to lift him
into the air

or that they didn’t even attempt to

it was ok because sometimes that’s the way it went

arms left you with nothing to say but take care of yourselves
out there in the wide open
Matt Rowan lives in Los Angeles, with his wife and daughter. He currently edits Untoward Magazine. He’s author of two story collections, Big Venerable (CCLaP, 2015), Why God Why (Love Symbol Press, 2013) and another, How the Moon Works, forthcoming from Cobalt Press. He’s also a contributing writer and voice actor for The Host podcast series. His short story, “The Ok Grocery Store Corral,” was long-listed by The Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions 2013. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in TRNSFR, Spork, HAD, Rejection Letters, Always Crashing, Grimoire, and Necessary Fiction, among others.