The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. (1775). Daedalus and IcarusRetrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/7fb507e0-fc78-0134-f7c4-00561795c945

The basement workshop 

Holds gray light

From grime-streaked windows.

In the vise, drying

Wood, tempered.

Adherence matters.

Address the laws of nature

Or not.

Has it been inscribed that man

Shall not fly?

If I can imagine, I can do.


Later, after the vise is open,

Rough old hands—

Gnarled fingers, calloused thumbs—

Invoke the plan.


As thinnest canvas stretches

In the nearby corner

Strut by strut by joint by joist

And then again

And then again

And then the wax

Until two tapered shapes



And behind them, bags

That overflow with feathers

White, upwards drifting

Through the earthbound basement light


As the boy, standing

Watches, yearns


Sure that he will reach

Beyond the stars.


If we knew the future

Would we yearn less?