Daedalus takes new burns to bed every night;
he is all callouses and broken skin
still inflamed from the drip of the wax.
His back is curved like a sickle
from bending over his work station.
As he shapes the wax, building burning wings,
he warns his son of the dangers of the flame,
of getting too close, of loving
this warmth too much – how skin curls
beneath the molten liquid
and salvation is sometimes a thing
to hold at a distance. Many have suffered
from the want of a candle or north star,
have mistaken the burning for comfort:
a forest fire disguised as a warm breeze,
a lover’s breath against the skin.
He tells him the gods know nothing
of burning, they only care about
the spark before the catch. They leave
nothing but the stench of ash behind.
But Icarus does not listen, caressing
his sun spots with reverence. He lies
on the stone floor in a patch of sunlight
that snuck in through the crack in the wall,
splayed like a cat – arms extended
as if in flight.