He soared ever higher on his homemade wings
easy gliding over the Mediterranean
giddy as only a teenager can be
elated to have escaped the dust of Crete
the airless prison of the labyrinth
and the spiteful wrath of old King Minos
I can be anything he shouts to the sun
startling the eagles and vultures
with his newly fractured voice
too close, too close
the wax melts, the feathers drift away
he is flailing wingless arms
help me Father he cries
as he plummets unseen into the sea

What of a boy whose limp wings lie
flat against his shoulders, a prisoner
of pain’s wide wounds, but alive
though his dreams left long ago
no visions of flying in Apollo’s chariot
fiery stallions prancing across the skies
or hauling three-headed Cerberus from hell
no taking a slow walk around the block, shy smiling
at Sharon Woods sunbathing in her back yard
his soul shriveling, curled like an arctic tern
or a three-banded armadillo, tensed against
the future, but alive, still alive
what of that boy whose feathered wings
failed to unfold