Icarus, She Flies

A daughter dies, and she is found,

in the cerulean movements of birds.

Not a hawk. Mother Sky

says those are for boy’s souls.

 

The father sees mockingbirds

building a nest of pine twigs

in the corner frieze of the portico

and imagines a flash of her smile

in there frequent swoops to his shoulders

as he dares to fetch the mail.

 

This is not a defensive attack, he thinks,

not really harpies.

Maybe a hello? 

Maybe her just checking in?

It made sense. 

She was always hiding in high places.

 

She once was found sleeping in a crag

of Old Wauhatchie Pike on one joint climb.

She often danced on the roof,

sketch pad in hand, until she found

the perfect angle to stencil

either the setting or rising sun.

 

The mockingbirds screeches

waking him in the morning

were an act of love, maybe,

turning a casual belief

into a hopeful faith.

 

It was silly for him to think

that the mockingbirds were

his daughter’s soul.

 

But then the father

thought of Icarus

every time the mockingbirds

would rise and soar high in the drafts

until their glint vanished into the sun.

He rebelled at the thought that Mother Sky

would reserve waxen wings for a foolish boy.

 

His daughter had made herself silken wings.

He knew that, had harnessed them  to her back,

leaving this butterfly in the babysitter’s care

while they went to attend the opera.

 

After the tuck in she scrambled onto the roof

determined to sketch the rise of the moon,

and knowing that anything was possible,

she closed her eyes and leapt.

 

He remembered the babysitter’s

frantic call to come home, NOW!

Then, there was just the echo

of his daughter’s laughter. Maybe?

 

He could see her flying high in the day sky

even though the night, the real night,

had queened her kingdom to the existence

of her swaying silently between pine and earth,

her feet never touching the ground.

 

He wanted to tell her to come down.

TO COME DOWN NOW. 

But he could not.

She was too high up,

lost in the promise of flight.

And he was too small.

 

He let her go.

Let her fly away from him

on silken wings

that never melted. 

Proud to see her fly

so high, even in his dark.