The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 10 no. 1


Christopher Bursk



Veer. Swoop.
 The limited vocabulary
                                       of longing.
                        When does knowing
that what he wants
                                       is impossible
                        ever keep a boy
from wanting it? Wings
                        Light. It’s not the sun
that sends Icarus crashing,
                                       but the weight
                        of all the ordinary
air on his shoulders, millions
                                       of molecules
                        the vulgar
facts of chemistry, jealousies
                                       of physics.
                        It’s not flight
he years for, as much as
                                       the solicitude before
                        and after,
his father’s hopes for his soaring,
                                       his father’s pity
                        for his fall, Daedalus
bending over Icarus
                                       as if a boy’s body
                        was meant for more
than just taking out the trash
                                       or kicking a soccer ball,
                        the man’s hands
on the boy’s shoulder blades,
                                       just under
                         the boy’s arms
stitching wings
                                       to the wings
                        on the boy’s back.