- Icarus on Fire Island
Two loves I have, each one too fair for me to be completed in his eyes, summer open with Mediterranean blue where care is left aside, the most of available light. The Sunday beach with you, spangled with tan men, their perfect skin reproach and visible reward (until the sun abandons them and they withdraw into the inked-in sky to shine unseen for those who don’t concern themselves with light), I searched the air dazzled with kites for them, I couldn’t want them less. Since shunning painI ease can never find, I’ll score the sky with string, and there incise my name, until the gusts decline. I have dispersed the clouds with one small wisp of breath, his hand commands a paper dragon through an insurgent breeze. The painted silk is stolen by flight, the line snaps or he lets go of the line, playing it out against a sudden updraft. That was my future life, lost track of all a summer afternoon: black point in a northeast corner of blue descending, a mote across an open eye of sky where light drains away.
Reginald Shepherd teaches at Northern Illinois University. His first book of poems, Some Are Drowning, won the 1993 Associated Writing Programs’ Award in Poetry. A 1995 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, he is also author of Angel, Interrupted, a second volume of poems.