Falling for Icarus

He wasn’t like the others.
His words brushed my mouth light as feathers,
long slender fingers whispered over my skin.
I wasn’t to know that he’d up and fly,
that he’d lit himself a dream like a hot red flame.

I said to him,
Haven’t we got the sun here in our arms?

But he couldn’t see it,
always watching the clouds.
When the mist rolled in he’d sigh,
go to his shed at the bottom of the garden.
I’d hear him singing through the hours,

running his hands over ribs of wood
covered with grey ghost wax, thin as oyster shell.
He’d come to me in the night
his fragile body netted
in feathers and wire.

And then he told me he was ready
to walk to the cliff in the morning,
Kissed me, but his eyes were closed.
I watched him go,
carrying his dreams on his back.

He returned, broken,
I bathed his wounds, dressed his tired body,
kissed his bruised lips;
I believed it was all over.
Secretly glad I opened to him like a flower.

But he came in the dark clothed
ashamed of his body,
joy dead as a candle burnt out.
He turned his back and slept,
There was nothing I could do to wake him.


Published in Mslexia