Learning to Fly

He heard his father’s voice, from far away: “No!” He screamed it. But Icarus didn’t listen. Wind rushed around him, strong beneath his arms, and he was flying. The sun was an orange, a peach—some fruit and he would pick it. The wax bit like fire, and the feathers—so many hours of work—dropped from him, not one by one but all at once, like smoke from smothered flames. He fell, then, turning miserably in a wind that would never, now, hold him. Freedom meant risk, his father had said, but he hadn’t understood. We never know what time will bring us, faith or fate or the choices of our own hands. So he fell, the sea beneath him fast approaching, itself lit bright like a flame, red and orange and silver. Icarus turned, a gyroscope, until the water turned light to darkness and quenched the burning blaze.