Ikaros

What if we changed the story, had some sadistic god
 bestow upon Ikaros the gift of acrophobia.
 He'd stand, trembling, on the edge of the cliff,
 his wild young body longing to give itself 
 to unbounded space and rapturous ascent —
 his soul by chains of fear as grimly tethered to the rock
 as Prometheus ever was.
 
 What then? If we run the tale ahead, 
 say, fifty years, would we find him
 still there on Crete, for decades fatherless;
 light-filled wings now withered arms?
 What bitterness or loss would his neighbors
 read in his eyes or his poems? Or
 would he have found other means of ascent
 not driven by hot blood and young muscle, 
 but by the slow fermentations of desire — 
 or maybe by flinging himself 
 around the great orb of his fear,
 as a comet is swept around the sun 
 and shot again into the void? 
 
 Or would we find him safe in Samos, 
 surrounded by his flocks and grandchildren?
 "There were difficult times and wings repeatedly lost,
 but I was saved by my mother, the king's concubine, 
 who came in a dream to say, 
             'Look, Ikaros, at my life
             and understand as your father never did:
             one does not reach the heavens
             by flying — but by falling.'”