Feathers and Wax (Ode to Icarus) by Katie Proctor
Maybe you’re sitting at home in your jeans and sweatshirt clutching a bottle like it’s a lifeline, clutching at straws. Maybe I have you all wrong and I’m reading it like I always do, reading too much into the words that don’t have meaning unless you’re the one saying them. Tell me everything’s alright, just like you used to, just a flicker of that cynicism I breathe in like oxygen. Tell me you’re coming back and you’ll fix it, and it’ll be like you were never gone. I can hear it like a whisper, like you were just here or maybe you still are, hiding somewhere between the wooden floorboards, an echo, polar. Please think of me, seeing my breath in an empty room where I used to talk to you and the hours flew away like a white-winged bird, feathers and wax. You were always there like a shadow, a trace of social politics crouching in the corner behind my poems, and now I don’t think I can remember your face the way I used to, when I would sit strumming an acoustic guitar in a dimly lit bedroom. If the last was the way you looked on my computer screen, pixelated, I’d say goodbye like you were a bomb I couldn’t defuse, about to decimate right there in my kitchen. You used to steal away the early hours, oblivious, and now I look up at stars that seethe silver asking where you are, how many miles. Marco. Polo. I looked for a word in that broken dictionary and I couldn’t find a thing, because I don’t think there’s a noun that would fix the way I miss you, no citation in a library index. You’ve got my fingers on strings, searching your name for things I can’t tell you. The truth, that I tried to fly to you but I got burnt, singed by the fear.
Unanswered questions that rattle like a pill I should have taken but now I’ve lost my appetite. What if it’s over? Did you pick apart my skeleton, ivory on tile, and walk away with my heart between your teeth? I’ve got pieces of you everywhere, making holes in the carpet, I took without asking. An eye for an eye, a soul for a glance.
Katie Proctor (they/them) is a poet from Yorkshire, England. They write about love, relationships and mental health. Their sophomore collection of poetry A Desire for Disaster is forthcoming this year from Hedgehog Poetry. They are the editor-in-chief of celestite poetry. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram @katiiewrites.