Icarus and grapes
by Helen A Companion
Sunday, March 03, 2002
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Five children crush
grapes, yesterday’s batch
getting a thick skin on it like
the lemon balm their mother used
to wear. They wear only underwear,
stomp constantly, but never pedantic.
Their grandmother doesn’t want them
wearing purple clothes, hopes that the cold
will make them forget about their mother and
come out of the grapes.
The youngest girl stops, spreading her legs
against the wall, adding another wall
to the labyrinth the grapes flow through.
Icarus never did make it to the sun,
the rays pushing through the wax,
making odd colors and shapes like
a kaleidoscope on the water. He had
agility like a fish as he fell; a true
zealot is a narcissist, with no other
idol than himself.
Only the girl ever looks wistful,
as she had something more urgent
to do. The others crush ceaselessly,
the only food they’ll take is the grape
juice that seeps through their toes.
She looks out at the water, notices
it seems a deeper jaded green today,
the turns back to stomping, and sees
her grandmother frowning through the
The water felt galvanized, he was not
as fluent in swimming as he was at flight.
He eventually stopped trying, concentrated
on the rhapsody of ringing in his ears,
barely noticing the softness it had in comparison
to whistling in the air. He never thought about whether life was a quandary, or a hoax or a cabal, but just let his feet touch the sand, the wax from his wings, brushing
over his toe.
She yawns. They hadn’t heard her speak, only frown, since their mother died. “Why are we in the pedant again? You know mother would not want us to be victims of grapes, nor of her memory. If you wish to still equivocate, go ahead, but I’m going.”
She jumped out in Xyresic obeisance,
marching to the sand, letting the water
carry the purple with it.