They called him little Icarus,
and that's just how we knew him,
all bow-limbed, all paper flesh, all stitch-lipped,
and still his father's child.
But what of the beauty of transcending? Did we not
know him to swallow the sun when he knew it would
take his wings?
The kids at school would take their turns
pulling his feathers, jaunting at the wax and
jeering at the string and telling him that the sky
didn't want him, that his parents didn't
want him, either.
And what of the transience of dreams? The
way they'd take off in taxi cabs and briefcases
and shout dissolution into existence in ways
only his father could.
Just the way his father did.
And I found him outside on the black-top, knees bent,
fists curled in a puddle of feather and wax and staring
as if peeping into the gates of Auschwitz.
I understood the burden of uncertainty,
the fiery-eyed will of impatience, the irresistible pantomime
of "forgetting" just after the fever of dawn.
"Don't let go," I told little Icarus, "don't you let go
because when you do, he won't come back for you.
And I left knowing he'd be okay.
In the evenings he was a firefly,
finding his place among the dying embers
of a Summer day's obituary just to rest in the palms
of his father's hands, trying to remember
they way they felt, the way they cupped
themselves around his little body and called
It was August when the man returned and
took a spot beside his little insect boy on
the back porch.
I was there with both of them that evening,
pinching their cheeks and peeling back their skin
to show them that they still had teeth, that they
still knew love.
After all, he was still his father's boy, his little Icarus.
After all, they still knew what it was to smile.
there was a girl who lived in the river bend with
a head full of moth and spider's web and caterpillar vein
and i said what are you doing girl and she told me
she was making sense of the river stone
i didnt know too much about rivers or stones or the
monsters beneath her bed but all i know is that i sat
beside her all strung up and lace-tight and she called
me her little support
she grew into her wings that day all skeleton flesh and bone weary
and made light of dangling all her pretty little teeth in front of me
just grinning and grinning and grinning like they didnt
even know they were only midnight phantoms or daytime
cemeteries but she was there and i was there and that was that.
guess no one tried squeezing the sense out of those damn stones before
because her momma said she had almost forgotten how to smile