Cyprus, the Swan

Ash Mehta has absolutely adored writing since second grade, and especially loves writing fantasy and contemporary novels, and creative nonfiction short form. They’re currently querying for their Young Adult novel, Fateful Equinox. In their free time, they love dancing, hiking, and hanging out with their siblings and friends


They always said Cyprus descended from the heavens.

She was an angel, with her gold-tipped, pearly-white feathers, and she floated, glided across her homeland in a way no swan had ever seen before. In the days of Cyprus, the idea that she was born of Aphrodite was not unreasonable.

Cyprus never saw herself as a god, nor did she see any of her peers as such. It was the humans, those tall, beautiful humans who promenaded the shores a few feet above her, who were divine.

One day, Cyprus didn’t recognize her soft flesh, the hair curling against the nape of her neck. She had lost her dewy feathers and the elegant curve of her beak. She was a human. One of those strange, godlike creatures. She couldn’t imagine it– what it meant for her.

As she walked down the street, she felt the eyes of the men dissecting her, her newborn strange clumsiness, and felt hot pangs of shame down her back. She attempted to drink from the lake in the center of the city, and was yelled at furiously. She expected… she didn’t know. Catharsis, maybe? Pleasure? She had seen humans as so clever, so beautiful, but being one felt like being in a cage. No freedom to go where she wanted, and cold, cruel eyes like flint from the people on the streets. She felt herself desperate for the freedom of her wings, the freedom of uncoordinated flight.

Cyprus stumbled into a diner, breath heavy, lungs tight. Tears welled up in her eyes: an unfamiliar feeling, for swans didn’t cry. Swans didn’t feel pain.

But nowhere was safe from the hungry eyes of men.

And the gods heard her pain and drew her up into the sky.