The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Icarus Takes a Window Seat by Kali Lightfoot

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Icarus Takes a Window Seat

Your voice on the phone
carries a rattle
of beverage carts,
seatbelts snapping,
and the frenzied beating
of your heart as you wait
for the door to close
and trap you.

I would like to say
the words to help you
soar in “friendly skies”
but you’ve been
talking to Icarus
and Bellerophon.
You three boys
know with certainty
the hubris of flight.
Who am I
to contradict you?

Bellerophon fallen
from winged Pegasus
and Icarus blistered
in ecstatic wings.
From then to now
millennia of cautionary
tales speak doom
to those who fly,
and you in this instant
can hear them all.

You say you are a loser.
I say you are a hero.
Neither of us is right.
You are a panicked man
calling his bewildered mother.
Both anxious, both alive;
thinking about two
dead Greeks
who just wanted to see
the other side of the clouds.


Kali Lightfoot lives in Salem, MA. Her poetry has appeared in Illuminations 29, Split Rock Review, Silver Birch Press, the anthology The Wildest Peal, and received Honorable Mention from the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Kali earned an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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