Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review


Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review


Article excerpt

How much time do you really need me to spend on the lust

for an eternal summer or a fathers gaze before I can say

Every flight makes me a little more dead and you can take it

on faith or at least the reasonable suspension of disbelief?

Which I've been told is the prerequisite of all good

myths Do you believe me if I say that all I was ever good

for was a death that was remarkable only where

ambition gives way to a popular moral? I am saying

it is a good myth because so many hands keep painting it

this good kid to whom this could have never happened

if the world was not the world This smart kid who only

ever lived the once and soon or already never again

I am saying it is a good myth because we burn all the time

and at different velocities and this is how I first knew that

I was different I was given an impression of what I could

never hope to operate I was given the fable and never

left the ground If I say that this is a story that ends

in drowning I think you know who must have given the eulogy

off camera If this is the case I think you do not understand

the physics of ambition when ambition is the only reason

that you are something like free I mean from that height

you cannot enter the water the heat has met your back

and if you hit the water the ocean's desire to reject the living

would snap Icarus' neck before taking the good kid into the inevitable

Everything a father does to keep a son alive is a futile exercise

In certain iterations of the legend Icarus must have been as dark

as me by the time he was what he was always going to become

And it is I think always the way with such things For the longest

time I could not make it out of a poem alive This one is no different

I was conceived as a fable It is always the way of such things

that I lift my tongue towards my mother's country and find the ridges

at the top of my mouth scalding perdóname I repent for not being

enough of anything That I was placed in a school like my own dark

father miles from any reflection until the river the lake the ocean

beckoned below That I could hear doom sizzling at the back of my neck

for years before I realized what I want so much to make you believe

Every desire kills us by degrees Do you believe me if I say I only ever wanted

to be worthy of my father's grief? …

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