Mānoa Falls, Honolulu, Hawaii
María Isabel Alvarez

If only we could catapult to the top with the aid of a bamboo stem. We’d bypass the climb, brush past the cluster of hikers—some too old or too pregnant to finish the ascent—and live as if we were once again young.

The arc of our flight would begin slow, then uptick in speed. If we could see through eagle eyes, we’d see the blur of our shadows fluttering below us. Above us, a canopy of foliage through which only veins of light peek. Not even the sun would hold power here.

Midflight and the world that’d surround richer than the one left behind. The only congestion the network of tangled trees, the only sound the whiplash of our flying bodies. We’d have no use for our flat, impractical feet, only wings to gentle us down.

When we land, I only want to us be still in the water. Float like the discs of lilies. Let the rush of the falls mottle our scalloped backs pink. In this second life, we’ll eat like birds and sleep like stones and we’ll wonder what it was that kept us from soaring sooner.

If only we could catapult to the top with the aid of a bamboo stem, I swear, we’d never come down.

María Isabel Alvarez is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction at Arizona State University with work forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Arts & Letters, and Agave Magazine, among other publications.