How to measure the fall of Icarus
how to prove Daedalus said
Don’t not perhaps….
The daughters of the king of Sicily
will remember only after Icarus:
will remember only
Daedalus laughs often.
Imagine the boy’s surprise
discovering nothing binds him
to his father—
not wax, not faith.
Imagine his wail as
the distance between
sun and father
son and earth
It was after all only a dance…
Icarus peels from the sky
easy as rind.
The indifferent sun is and is.
Daedalus has a long life in Sicily.
He builds new wings for the king’s daughters.
They dance the sky, Daedalus
Do not go too far over the sea!
Easy as taking off a glove
easy as loose change
Daedalus resists the urge
to fly faster.
Afterwards the sea looks the same.
Contributor’s Notes: Paulette’s work has previously appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Provincetown Arts, and Rhino. She has published two chapbooks. Blues for a Pretty Girl is available on Amazon and Voice Lessons is available at Plan B Press. You can find her at www.thehomebeete.com.
Really, Daedalus? Feathers and wax?
You have to be the thickest brick
in the entire Athenian tool shed,
to think a few melted Yankee Candles
and the feathers out of a bunch of pillows
would make suitable raw materials
for homemade, single person aircraft.
Did you, like, not have the internet
My testicle is more intelligent than you.
The stuff I blow into a Kleenex
makes more sense than you.
Daedalus, you old, incestuous,
did you even weigh your son
before telling him it was time
to impersonate a chicken mascot
over the Greek Ocean’s waves?
That must be why your parents
called you Daedalus; they were afraid
that out of your amazing stupidity,
you would make your own son dead one day.
You probably didn’t even go through
an oral phase when you were a baby.
Jesus Christ, Daedalus, your son is dead
because you couldn’t be bothered
to do some homework and read up
on what the Wright Brothers did.
Did you tell Icarus that if he ate
Pop Rocks and soda at the same time
he’d grow big and strong, too?
Boeing would so never hire you, dude.
It must have been difficult having him for a father,
the way he kept dabbling in science, design,
and invention. O, wasn’t he young once?
Didn’t he once, prematurely, want to fly?
Only I think of this. My friend does not.
He only remembers the day he left
the car keys on the counter, and his fif-
teen-year-old took them when his friends were over—
unsupervised, which turns a dare into the act.
The parents of the other boys in the car
are suing him now.
He had never thought his son was the kind
you would have to hide the car keys from.
He’d forgotten that when he was a boy
himself, he’d almost blown up the house
with his chemistry set.
And now his son has learned to fly,
and dissolved into the spindrift, if not the sky,
and my friend has boarded up the house
on the hill like the labyrinth in Crete.
If only the windows there had been sealed,
Icarus would still be alive today.
My friend never leaves his labyrinth.
But I think about when I was fifteen,
and there were the car keys on the counter,
and in the basement, hanging on the wall,
the machete from the Philippines my own
father had brought back from the war, that taught
me what the sternum was even before
I learned the word for sternum. And I think
about how difficult it is and always
has been, to have Daedalus for a father.