Given the sky at last, he can escape all thought:
the soulless calculations his father scratched in sand,
models with wings pasted to rats, the amputated
birds who crashed again and again.
                                                                                And yet,
Daedalus kissed the boy before they lofted off,
father leading the way. Their fast footprints abruptly ended
on the edge of the beach, their very nature erased
as they capped the trees.
                                                                The boy’s wings pressed
like feet on a stair. He was spirit; bones now hollow,
anger wisped away. An obscene ardor pulsed
with each wing beat. Higher and higher, surpassing even
the father, who looked below and behind
but never above for his son.
                                                                Icarus soared
and when last he looked, Daedalus was no more
than a prone man curiously flapping. Just let him try
to follow me. And with that, the first feather
fell, grazing the neck of the old man. Then
the barbules unwove, reed bones broke, mist
loomed to meet him.
                                                Nobody floated.
What an awful burden our salt blood makes.
Icarus spirals round the hapless Daedalus.
In a cold blur the boy overtook his father
moving on with short shrugs.
He could have been crying.

Originally published in West Branch