Icarus Boy, by Kathy Miles
Coming down was easy. The tricky bit
was taking off; the cusps heavy as a rucksack
on his back, his heart tilting an uncertain beat
against the ramshackle nest of wax and feathers.
His weight shifting into the wind as he ran,
fast as he could, to catch a sudden gust.
Now he's shooting up there, wired to his wings,
hot-railing through the clouds. He's mastered
the skill of turning on a thermal, soars above fields
of corn and shining wheat. Perhaps that sudden
pull between his shoulderblades reminds him
to turn and see how far he's travelled.
But he's much too high, and sparkling sundogs
beckon, the fire in his veins buzzing like a quasar,
the plume of a jet scored in the air below him.
Here he can wring the universe out,
a dishcloth in his fingers. He can skim the lines
of isobars, taste the spike of light across his tongue.
Too heavy for the cumulus to hold, too close
to that ecstasy of heat and plasma.
Unloosed, he tumbles back to earth,
starfish arms spread wide like a crucifixion.
Oystercatchers startle as he lands in the sea,
steam rising as he hits the cooling surf.
An early moon quickens the evening sky.
Sprawls his shadow across the waves,
long, black, a broken albatross.
Kathy Miles is a poet and short story writer from West Wales. Her work has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and she is a previous winner of The Bridport Prize. Her fourth full poetry collection, Bone House, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2020, and she is a frequent reader and workshop facilitator at various venues throughout the UK.
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