By Carl Auerbach


A cloud of falling feathers.

A dripping hot wax rain.

A body falling from the sky.

A son falling from the sky.

My son falling from the sky.

The father should not outlive the son.


Neither too high nor too low, I told him

Everything in moderation,

there will be time for many flights.

But I had seen the world,

and he knew only Crete,

only Crete, and the dream of being more,

the pride of being more, and the brief thrill

of his first and only flight.


The son should not die before the father.

No awful clouds of waxy feathers.

No arms reaching out too late.

No sons falling from the sky.


Afterward, I saw the twisted

wingless body that was once

the little boy I lifted

in my arms, so he

could touch the sky.


Now he is a poem.

And I a minor character.


I survived, crafted more inventions,

had more children, other sons.

I did not teach them how to fly.



Carl Auerbach is a Professor of Psychology at Yeshiva University, specializing in the psychology of trauma. His poetry has been published in many literary journals and he has been nominated for three pushcart prizes, two for poetry and one for short fiction. He lives in Manhattan, New York.

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