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Uncle Petey wore his Scapular of Carmel inside his collared shirts from the day he received it at age five, and he took the embroidered images with him to his grave. Sometimes, when Petey was hard at work in the garden his Scapular would pop out and Granddad, who gardened in his undershirt, would call to him saying, your wings are showing. Petey would look at us and wink and then say, just trying to keep up with you, Mick. Your wings are always on display. In those moments both men seemed lifted up as they threw their shoulders back to laugh. Now I know they were adjusting their wing bones. Checking to make sure the gossamer secrets they pulled from the river back home so long ago were still in place and ready to go.
Patricia Bender’s writing has been published by Beir Bua Press, Common Ground, Good Foot, LIPS, the Paterson Literary Review, Peregrine, Southword, and THE GREAT FALLS ANTHOLOGY. A National Writing Project Fellow, she serves on the Editorial Board of the New Jersey English Journal, and as a United Nations Volunteer online editor.
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