Icarus’ Father

Icarus’ Father – Avra Margariti

When she’s little,
her favorite story is Pinocchio,
so he names himself Gepetto,
grizzled and bent and always working
with his hands and his knife.
He carves her wooden animals,
a pair of each, and soon he becomes Noah.
The first is a lion, an elephant,
then a giraffe hanging over her handmade crib.
By the time he’s halfway through the animal kingdom,
his daughter’s new favorite story is the tale of Icarus.
She becomes restless, always prowling, sneaking off,
much too old for animal figurines.
So he names himself Daedalus,
toiling away in his workshop for months
until he fashions her a pair of wings—
sun-proof, aerodynamic appendages hollow
as bird bones.
His daughter cries when he presents her
with the wings.
She accepts the gift he wished she’d turn away
and flies to far-off places,
leaving him behind to wilt
and whittle wood into birds, fish, serpents.
When she returns a year and a month later,
face sunburned, wings tattered, hair shorn close to her skull,
she wears boy clothes and a radiant smile.
She calls herself by a different name,
by Icarus.
Not knowing what to do,
Daedalus says: “The animals are almost complete.”
Icarus falls asleep by the fire,
a smile carved across his weatherworn face.
Clasped in his hands are the lion, the elephant, the giraffe,
the same animals that used to hang over his crib
when he was a baby.
Daedalus sits on his favorite chair,
rocking back and forth into the night.
He remembers how,
before he called himself Gepetto, Noah, or Daedalus,
he was just a father, his child’s sanctuary.
And this, more than the animals, more than the wings,
is his greatest accomplishment.

Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Daily Science Fiction, The Forge Literary, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Argot Magazine, The Arcanist, and other venues. You can find her on twitter @avramargariti.