Re: Daedalus, a poem in five parts


The Mechanics of Flying (figs. 1-3)

It is said that burning sage

keeps restless spirits at peace.


Once a year for three days

Daedalus sits

under a mobile


crafted from the bones of a

sea bird


and watches the smoke

cling like feathers.




Two girls

were building a bridge

across a creek,



under a rock and covered in moss

like feathers

was the skeleton of a sea bird—


it couldn’t fly.




 On the third night,

Daedalus had a dream

that a great dragonfly was upon his chest,


“To fly, you must also be the wind.

You know how to be the wind, don’t you?                       You just put your lips together and blow.”


When Daedalus woke from his dream he was very still.


On his chest was the perfect ash of a sage wand,

he took a breath

when he exhaled

he became the wind.






The Story Doesn’t End Until We See Icarus Again


Think of the sun as an eggshell,

and think that Icarus’ descent—due to a trick of

light, and Daedalus’ failing eyes—

was actually ascension.


In one acrobatic swoop,

Icarus skipped like a rounded

stone into the sun, gave it a

good crack, and crawled inside.


Think of the embryo of a sea bird,

its molecular structure more

fluid and element than


or flight,


Think of the currents it created inside the shell

as its limbs, eyes and throat form

in mid-hatch



Think of its viscous wings

as it stills

and breathes,


of Icarus now,

being made of nothing but


and feathers.






The Mechanics of Flying (fig. 4)



For your stemware,

you could use Daedalus’ failing

eyes as coasters

when your not-quite steady


pours slightly more


than you wanted.






The Second Coming of the Sun


Icarus hatched from the surface of the sun and seawater,

had to teach himself  how to breathe again—


(he hadn’t used his lungs since the

fated moment when the pads of

his feet left the tower; he will also

argue that lack of oxygen and not

hubris is why he was unable to

stay in the sky.)


It wasn’t until the hatchling’s egg was gone

and the basin of night filled

that he remembered equal parts


and inhale


when he slept

it was the movement of water under his nose

that reminded him of the tether

of his father’s beard.






Incubating Nymph Becomes Icarus Anisoptera


Famine at sea had made his eyes bulge

like ripe apricots,

his only consolation,


a fishing net that had freed itself,

bringing him fish scales, sea moss, the odd hook

or coin worn to a shine:


Icarus of salt and feather

had become Icarus of

crawling sea bed, Icarus of

his own weaving, Icarus of clove-hitch or

eye splice,


Icarus who spread his arms wide, whose

serendipitous net hardened as he brought it

out of the water across his back,


a dragonfly,


who in a surge of rapid-beating iridescence

became flight again.



Cat Batsios is from Flint, MI and writes a poem every time someone makes her feel like she should apologize for her home. She lives in Detroit where she's a writer in residence with Inside Out Literary Arts and will continue to write until she has challenged enough/ helped to clear enough space for everyone to raise their voice.