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Icarus at Lake Acworth

                                    Christopher Martin


                    In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
                    Quite leisurely from the disaster…

                                        —W.H. Auden

Waterlogged and barely floating
in a cove of Lake Acworth,
a dead blue heron draws flies,
bobs in the wake of a bass boat.
Its wings expand in the sludge,
fill with the water beneath them,
spread over the rest of its body
that rots among cattails and reeds,
feeds creatures I cannot see.
From the bridge where I walk
with my children, the wingspan
appears out of place, worn
by some exiled angel, or a boy
who took flight only to fall,
drown in this lake, drift to this inlet
where no one seems to notice.
Motor oil laps the heron’s feathers,
gathers with bottles, plastic wrappers,
fishing line at the reservoir’s edge.
Days from now, even these wings
will descend to silt, decompose,  
dissolve into all that remains,
recede in the relics of our own myths.


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