Wendy Shaffer


Did Icarus,
       watching white feathers flutter upward,
       curse the wax as a fair-weather friend?
It seemed such a strong solid type,
       but it melted away
       when things got hot.

Did he rail at the sun,
       which beckoned enticingly,
       and then changed from a beacon to a furnace?

Did he blame Daedalus, his father?
Who warned him not to fly too high
       in the same distracted tones with which
       he admonished his son
       to put on a sweater in the cold,
       to eat his lima beans,
       to not run with scissors.
How could he have known that this time the old man really meant it?

Or did he regret that the illustrious inventor,
       when creating his flying apparatus,
       did not take the obvious next step:
       the emergency parachute?

He must have thought
       all of this
              and more.

It was
       a long

But as he neared the ocean,
       came close enough to wave to the startled fishermen in their boats,
       he laughed,
              and admitted
              that even had he known
                     of the many failings of fathers and feathers,
                            he would have done it anyway.