Icarus Explains

There is no death in the sun. I know it will look far otherwise
to anyone watching from shore, anyone standing

at the blue Aegean, pointing up at a mythical bird soaring
   too close
to the light, anyone milling in markets who catches what
   must seem

to be a stone falling, or rather, a stone pitching a moment
as the last of my feathers fly away from me like tiny birds

each discovering individual flight, and the wax spills out,
hardens to lace as it falls back toward the ocean. I know

it will look like an image of failure. How could it look
with Daedalus leagues below me screaming himself hoarse,

jerking his earth-heavy body like a moth in an attempt to
his flight, shouting up that the sun will kill me. But there
   is no death

in the sun. At that height my lungs will fill with purer air
and I will meet the brightness like a lover. I will open my

and my eyes, which will, in a manner, burn with his face.
What else can it look like from a distance but failure,
how can anyone expect to understand from solid earth?
What falls away, what burns, is mere husk thrown off,

and I will emerge lighter, able to continue rising into his arms
without the trappings of wax and feathers, without the

of Daedalus or the blue Aegean, where men
who don't understand will look skyward, shield their eyes

and see, or think they see, something impossible
in the clear sky-a domain they have surrendered to

birds, clouds and the beautiful, unreachable, life-giving
light meeting light.