Daedalus, After Icarus

by Kehinde Wiley

Daedalus, After Icarus

Boys begin to gather around the man like seagulls.

He ignores them entirely, but they follow him

from one end of the beach to the other.

Their footprints burn holes in the sand.

It’s quite a sight, a strange parade:

A man with a pair of wings strapped to his arms

followed by a flock of rowdy boys.

Some squawk and flap their boney limbs.

Others try to leap now and then, stumbling

as the sand tugs at their feet. One boy pretends to fly

in a circle around the man, cawing in his face.

We don’t know his name, or why he walks

along our beach, talking to the wind.

To say nothing of those wings. A woman yells

to her son, Ask him if he’ll make me a pair.

Maybe I’ll finally leave your father.

He answers our cackles with a sudden stop,

turns, and runs toward the water.

The children jump into the waves after him.

Over the sounds of their thrashes and giggles,

we hear a boy say We don’t want wings.

We want to be fish now.

(This poem originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of OCHO.)

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One response to “Daedalus, After Icarus

  1. Very strong & deeply observed. Yeah.

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