Image by Brennen Bariso

"flighty" – fickle and inconsistent, capricious and skittish. A word reserved exclusively for me, a boy with no wings.

"galvanize" – shock and excitement, my lungs coated themselves with zinc. I broke my bones and poured liquid iron to fill in the cracks. For the first few weeks of school everyone called me by the wrong name and I didn’t correct them because it made me feel like someone new.

"halcyon" – idyllic and carefree, the sun rose that morning when we called it.

"illness" – ailment, infirmity, I was too selfish and too distant. The dryer in our basement stopped producing heat, like a burnt-out star.

"justify" – righteous and reasonable, I promised to never write anything meaningful again. One hand pressed against the sink, we shaved my head until my hair covered the floor like ash.