The Mechanics of Flying (figs. 1-3)
It is said that burning sage
keeps restless spirits at peace.
Once a year for three days
under a mobile
crafted from the bones of a
and watches the smoke
cling like feathers.
were building a bridge
across a creek,
under a rock and covered in moss
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
Think of the currents it created inside the shell
as its limbs, eyes and throat form
Think of its viscous wings
as it stills
of Icarus now,
being made of nothing but
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
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
Icarus who spread his arms wide, whose
serendipitous net hardened as he brought it
out of the water across his back,
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.