Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 15
Fall 2016

Packing Wings

by Caroline Cottom

In dream after dream 
she flew over low-lying hills 
with her unhampered body, 
followed causeways, chaste 
and alabaster, that led to 
oceans and aprons of shore; 
families romped on the sand, 
the fathers youthful 
and startling in white shorts,
shirts that fluttered like 
bluebirds in flight, Panama
hats woven so fine they could 
sail off to Mars. Not finding 
her father among them, 
she took a room on a hotel’s 
top floor. From the balcony 
she saw Venus, Sirius, Cygnus, 
stars skimming the sky; 
crossed a distance she had not 
crossed before. Below,
the ocean had become a river
with banks as bare
and unsullied as snow.
A man named Christ 
appeared. Go, he said, 
your death is not near. 
In other dreams, realtors
showed her shoreline houses 
with fluted glass windows
where the waves lapped
and lapped at pebbles 
and shells. All were places
her sister had also dreamed 
while she was packing wings.


SHJ Issue 15
Fall 2016

Caroline Cottom, PhD

is the former director of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and the US coalition that ended nuclear testing in Nevada, described in her memoir, Love Changes Things: Even in the World of Politics. She lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she and her husband teach meditation and lead workshops on love, gratitude, and living a spiritual life.

Caroline’s poetry has appeared in Mandala Journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal, The Broad River Review, Glassworks, Morning Glory, negative capability, and Cumberland Poetry Review, among others. Her poems are forthcoming in Silk Road, Licking River Review, and Pennsylvania English. She has won the Transitions Abroad international personal essay contest.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury