My Father’s Fledgling by Robyn Katona

We are all raised by someone who was or is something else other than a parent. Parents are not some kind of indestructible, all-knowing superman. They are individuals with real fears, worries and battles, as well as real hopes and dreams. Forgiving our parents is a core task of adulthood and one of the hardest kinds of forgiveness. As Robyn Katona suggests in her poem "My Father’s Fledgling", forgive your father for being human, his wings are clipped.

Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer.

Our current guest editor is Tina Gross.

Tina Gross presents My Father’s Fledgling by Robyn Katona and says this about Robyn’s work:

Robyn is in their final year of the MFA program at MNSU Mankato (which I just graduated from in May), and I’m a big admirer of their work. Here they use intermingling metaphors of bird song and flight to portray a parent-child relationship in a way that’s stealthily emotionally astute. I love the apprehension-turns-to-solace in “sometimes i asked to read him bedtime / stories because if he couldn’t fly / he might also not know how to tell stories / but he did   still does…” You can hear Robyn read with Su Hwang in the Good Thunder Reading Series this Thursday, Nov 11.

My Father’s Fledgling by Robyn Katona

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>After Carmen Giménez Smith

as if i knew how to fly like him before
i even knew he was clipped and poisoned
so permanent that even healed
his scars would gain more scars 
sometimes i asked to read him bedtime
stories because if he couldn’t fly
he might also not know how to tell stories
but he did   still does   knows how to frame dark
soliloquies   mellowed out like a loon song masking
the burns and bruises with a squinty smile
and with the same laugh i let out
i can’t tell the same stories without grief
and rage    it’s like his memories morphed
into something bearable  something to sing
along to in long car rides    because flight
is something we’re both learning

you didn’t know his wings charred while yours
began to glide across the great lakes
migrating before summer’s end 
as metaphor he was stolen from the yolk
sensitive membrane frothy and desensitized away
i carry the eggshells in my palm and in a coin tin
this is our flightless pattern    my song drifts
in the lakes that surround our losses
riveting and hurt and temperate   i croon
since i’ve heard us sing nothing different



Robyn Katona is a 3rd year MFA graduate student at MNSU and co-managing editor with Maivboon Vang for BER. They write poetry, CNF, and when motivation strikes: writes huge world-building lore. They’re Cree and queer, and one day hope to work at an apiary despite having pollen allergies. It’ll have to wait though, after writing their thesis.


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