Icarus Rising

Dia Bhojwani

I know what falling looks like
I know it all too well
It’s shadows blooming dark under his eyelids
from several night’s worth of lost sleep
It’s her sweat-matted hair plastered to her forehead as she retches
goosebumps rising against soft arms against cold ceramic
her finger forced down her throat bidding her lunch upward and out
It’s his too-wide smiles and too-bright eyes
ebullience put on and discarded like a cloak
It’s her jacket despite the sweltering sun beating down on her back
cruel heat summoning a flush, a bead of sweat, a pant
she’d rather pass out from sun-strike than reveal
the angry cross hatch of red eating it’s way up soft brown flesh

I know what falling looks like
I know it all too well
I‘ve seen too many people I love hurtle to the ground
to not know it in myself
In my brittle laughter and unanswered questions
In my knuckles clenched so hard they blanch white
In acrid venom spilling from my tongue
once so saccharine
It could have given you toothache

I know what falling looks like
I know it all too well
So trust me, love
I’m Icarus rising
to the beat of wings
and sunlight turning my blood to golden ichor
pulsing through my veins to the hammer of my heart
as the ground slips away below me
I’m Icarus rising
Whoops sounding across the flat plane of a glistening turquoise sea
A klaxon, triumphant cry
Listen what the stories tell you
Pride comes before the fall

I know what falling looks like
But I never knew how it felt
To release my misery in a glorious burst
A furious all-consuming inferno
To destroy all I have with
A single, brutal word
as sharp as a dagger
The slam of a door
like the sting of a whip
Never knew what it felt like
To watch Rome burn
Because you thought it had nothing worth saving

This is the melting of wax as feathers fall from me
And slice through the water

This is my head falling back in helplessness and ecstasy

This is my blood singing
the dead-weight hammer of my heart
the whistle of the wind blowing past my ears
As my stomach drops
in weightless free fall

This is me hurtling
Towards the ground
A beautiful, terrible star
Slipping from the heavens

Tell me Daedalus
If I’m dying
Why do I feel so alive?


This work has been published in Beetle Magazine's July 2020 Issue

Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar


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