Water Feathers and Golden Hands
Water Feather and Golden Hands
color lithograph on paper with various media, hand bound book
24" x 22" closed, 24" x 50" opened
Water Feathers and Golden Hands
by Tammy Nguyen
This is a human child,
Who was bore from two ancient birds.
Her father was a tiny owl,
Unique from his flock.
And with song that was more like a howl,
Her mother was an enormous hawk.
Mother hawk had the most beautiful feathers in the world.
Made of waves of water, she graced the sky as they swirled.
You could make out shimmering minerals,
As she flapped her wings in steady intervals.
Father owl was famous for his golden hands,
Skilled in picking and clawing, he was a crafty hunter,
He could target a prey, snatch it on command,
No need to worry, he’ll feed you whatever he musters.
When they saw that their egg hatched into a human,
Mother hawk and father owl were quite surprised,
Loving their daughter, but not knowing how to care,
They thought of ways, they sat, they agonized.
This child has a breathtaking gaze,
And a mouth outlined with full lips,
It was clear that if the bird couple didn’t give her tips,
She could be lost in the rain for days.
Mother hawk thought,
That if she could give her daughter her feathers,
Then her daughter could pursue whatever she sought,
By having mother’s water, she’d seize her endeavors.
Father owl thought,
That if he could give his daughter his hands,
Then his daughter could pursue whatever she sought,
She would be the one making all the demands.
Mother hawk made her daughter a jacket out of banana leaves,
And she wove the water from her feathers into every stem,
She told her daughter, “Just put your mouth to your sleeve
And you will have the strength. Don’t be afraid of them.”
Father owl made his daughter a pair of glasses,
Molded from his hands, he used the best bark from a tree.
He told his daughter, “There are things I do not want you to see,
But when that happens, challenge them fiercely.”
What the bird couple did not realize,
Is despite the tools that they gave their child,
What they gave her internally was worse than the wild,
Her genetics would be the cause of her demise.
Her mother gave her a bad case of cholesterol,
And a temper that makes her spit boil, shooting fireballs.
Her mother gave her high blood pressure,
And a cold case of selfish, an endless hunt for treasure.
Her father gave her bad eyesight,
And some anxiety that keeps her from sleep at night.
Her father gave her bad digestion,
And a tendency for paranoia, she tends to feel threatened.
You are holding this child; organs you’re viewing,
In fact, she is aging, page turn to page turn.
But she only wants to be where the few sing,
Making discoveries impossible to churn.
She’s wide-eyed and unafraid of the universe,
Protected by her parents’ love and armor,
How guilty they might feel to see their efforts reverse,
We all know that one day she can’t go on for longer.
She doesn’t know any better, eating berries and rocks,
She runs outside in the cold, forgetting her socks,
She doesn’t know that the stuff inside will take over,
Look at her now; tell her something before she gets older.
So what would you tell this child,
Now that you’ve seen her intestines,
Try and save her?
Don’t let her go where she is destined.