Icarus on the Roof

By Dimiter Kenarov

In memory of Zachary Cruz

“Get off the roof,” he yelled, “you’ll break
the roof tiles.” Deaf, my five-year old weight
pressed upwards, scaling the scarlet pyramid
of life. He was livid.

The roof tiles were wobbly, hot.
My naked legs wobbled, unsupportable,
but refused to turn around and take the way
down. It was an ancient kind of game

my father might have played, when young,
his father yelling underneath, while the song
of the sun beckoned, “Climb, climb
to me, my boy, and touch my timeless

voice.” All I wanted was to touch the antennas,
their wavy melodious hair, and the menacing
throat of the chimney that chants
in the winter its sooty cantatas. And

I wanted to ascend the summit, undefiled,
survey the rooftops under which childhood
grows buried. To look at death from above
I had to escape in this airy abode.

So, father, don’t ask me to come back
and live safely with you, in your stead.
I won’t break the roof tiles with my foot.
I’m a child, remember. I’m light-footed.