If Icarus Had a Sister


Tickle, tickle, I wake up the sun
whoosh of feathers
fans my face
I am burning in the shadow
of the one crow
with a mouse in its mouth
this morning.

It is possible to burn
in the shadow of something
smaller than yourself
if you rest too close
to a furnace that never turns off.

All this talk of burning
these ashes
in my hands
these blisters on my feet.

I walked on the coals
because they were white.
Beach sand is hot
but never hot enough to raise
the skin from your arch.

The nurses used scissors
to pop the beautiful bubbles
cut the skin into gorgeous circles.
While my pink lilypads dried
in dusty hospital sun rays,
I floated out the window
(can’t walk on raw feet)
met a star filled with gas.

The firemen who left the coals
at the barbecue felt bad.
They brought me a Barbie
just like the doll whose feet I chewed
when I was too young to walk.


7 responses »

  1. so glad you’re writing. i’m stuck. under the blankets. being cranky.

    i like so many of the images in this. the chewed barbie feet are wonderful!!!!

    and i love that it was “hot” off the presses. 🙂

    i know how you feel about revision but i’m wondering if you could do without the second and third stanzas? the other three stanzas are very rich in detail and imagery; those two seem like telling instead of showing and so they don’t hold up their own compared to the others.

  2. i am a new woman when it comes to revision! i will have to type it without them and see… it figures: the secind stanza is me trying to “get deep” you know how i said i always feel like my poems lack something “universal?” maybe i just can’t do deep!

    thanks for giving me input! i really, really appreciate it!

  3. your work is deep. you don’t give yourself enough credit.

    it is funny that you were conscious of your effort in the second stanza. the other stanzas actually seem deeper.

    see what you do naturally? 🙂 it’s wonderful.

  4. I love this idea, Jill. It really caught my imagination. I wish my first drafts looked like this …

    Perhaps, if you wanted to condense/revise you might experiment with Carolee’s advice, although I do love:

    All this talk of burning
    these ashes
    in my hands
    these blisters on my feet.

    I do think it would be very strong and effective to go from the end of the first stanza:

    with a mouse in its mouth
    this morning.

    into a second stanza:

    I walked on the coals
    because they were white.

    I can see the nurses using scissors to pop the “beautiful bubbles”.

  5. You are so brave to let us see this. I loved it and it excites me that poems can be such startling, living things. I am writing but lack your courage. Thank you for letting air in on your words.

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