A Father’s Promise

Feathers collected,

golden, revered,

lay as still and as delicate

as a piper’s fingertips 

suspended—

just before song.

They started in color, russet and ruby,

but his skilled hands render them gilded 

with steady courage.

They gleam, effortlessly, 

mirroring the amber sunlight

that pools in the lazy morning,

settling thickly

through the open window.

A father kneels, hunched over.

He tinkers at the mass of feathers,

each one borrowed from patience;

years of offerings

to scornful gods and faithless creatures.

He deftly tethers them

onto a spider-silk strand of hope.

The wing-smith wipes his brow,

sweating in the sour summer air.

The motion would normally be swift

were his arms not heavy,

weighed down with resolve

as the hours passed,

and passed.

He can feel his son watching,

waiting for the clouds to part

or rain to begin weeping.

Icarus, impatience, 

forever swallowing the sky

in hopes of tasting the dramatic.

Hot-headed, but quick like his father.

The father smiles,

delight cooling his tongue.

Patience.

He would see his son away 

from this

godforsaken tower,

bathed in sunlight and

free as the birds that lent their feathers

for this fantastic imitation.

The clouds were pure and blinding white,

as if they had gorged themselves on snow,

even as the summer sky

smelled sweet and rich with dew.

The day had come.

The sun was poppy-red and marigold,

filled with promise,

And as the hazy air began to settle,

A man rose, 

for the day had come.

Icarus knelt as his father

twined the feathers to him,

the divine flight feather-light.

And so the day began!

As the petals of the sun begin to fall,

the first tentative wings open, close, open.

The dizzy, cloying scent of flight

and hunger, an endless garden

is cut

only by a simple warning:

the wings are fragile, 

for when the blazing the sun

is close enough

to extend a molten hand, 

it will grasp your wings and melt 

their steady seal.

I understand, father.

Go on, then.

He watched as his son flew,

his heart tied along with him, 

higher and higher still.

Icarus, with sheer joy shining on his brow,

tasting the sun-warmed air of freedom

for the first time.

Open, close, open,

the quick rhythm pulling him above

the deserted clouds. 

He rose, reborn,

too high.

A pair of spiritless wings 

pulled

desperately 

towards the crashing sea.

Icarus, scorned by the sun.

The waves cradled him gently at first,

but as suddenly as the wings fell,

Icarus lay no longer aching,

spat out onto the pale sand.

And as his father rose

from grief

to kneel at his side,

the sun stumbled down,

foreign again,

as it dipped into the water.

The fresh coffee-sky poured out,

the stars and gaze of gods

spattered like blood.

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