Daedalus in Oxyana

By WILLIAM BREWER

Was an emperor of element within the mountain’s hull,

chewing out the corridors of coal,

 

crafting my labyrinth as demanded.

My art: getting lost in the dark. 

 

Now I practice craving;

it’s the only maze I haven’t built myself and can’t dismantle.

 

I gave my body to the mountain whole.

For my body, the clinic gave out petals inked with curses.

 

Refill, refill, refill, until they stopped.

Then I fixed on scraping out my veins,

 

a trembling maze, a skein of blue.

Am lost in them like a bull

 

that’s wandered into endless, frozen acres.

Times my simple son will shake me to,

 

syringe still hanging like a feather from my arm.

What are you always doing, he asks.

 

Flying, I say. Show me how, he begs.

And finally, I do. You’d think

 

the sun had gotten lost inside his head,

the way he smiled.

 

[Purchase Issue 13 here]

William Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, forthcoming 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series, and Oxyana, selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, also forthcoming in 2017. Currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he grew up in West Virginia.

Daedalus in Oxyana

Related Posts

poetry feature image

January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond

BRUCE BOND
I was just another creature crawling from the mausoleum, / and I thought, so this is it, the place in the final chapter / where I am judged for all my cruelties, blunders, failures of attention, / and I waited for the furies to take me, or some such host. / But it was just another morning.

Sky full of comets

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
And he soars / saved, outstretched / untouched by the gravity that pins us / down / we deserters of empty spaces and heights / shadows cast / into modest taverns for a bite. / Heads in capitals / of rust. / A lifetime annuity of darkness. / Only a cry can save us now.

poetry feature image

December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison

DENISE DUHAMEL
Where was I / when I was 20? I’d already been accepted / as an exchange student, taking my first plane ride / to London where I’d catch a train / to Wales. On that first flight, I sat next to a woman / in a shawl—how old was she? It’s hard to say.