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A Sestina

Matt Lee

It is not the man who falters

But always the boy who ends up flying too close to the sun.

And we do not always leap from a tower

To begin our fall, but sometimes we step silently out the back door of a house

While Daedalus sips on his coffee

And discusses his garden.


And it is within the garden

That the flowers and vegetables falter

In the feeble soil. The boy’s hands are stained a coffee

Color from kneading mud in the hot sun.

He does this for play, imagining he is building a house

With his buckets and shovels.  He builds towers


And spires that rise and tower

Above the withering plants of the garden.

The cool embrace of the house

Calls him, but the boy dos not falter

From his work. He toils in the sun

With his mug of water, pretending he is sipping coffee


Like his father, who sipped his coffee

Silently in the shade of the deck. But the towers

Fell and the boy began his task once more in the hot sun

Of the summer afternoon. This garden

Was his land– his domain to oversee. And if something even so little as an ant were to falter

From their rightful duty, he would topple their house


Of dust and replace it with his own man-made house

Of grandeur and excess. But long gone are the days of coffee

And mud piles. He has faltered

From his course: left the safety of the tower.

He has chosen to be banished from the garden.

Like a son


Of Cain he flees from what he is. Still, he flies too close to the sun.

So, his wings melt, and like the fallen angel he is, he crashes to the earth away from his home.

Away from his past. Away from his father’s garden.

Away from the quiet sipping of coffee,

And away from the tower

That encased his life. Again, it is always the boy that falters.


And as he jumped he could feel his legs falter and give way under the weight. But he gazed at the sun

And lept from his tower. Never to return to the embrace of his home

And the time of sipping coffee and staining his hands in the mud of his father’s garden.

1 comment on “A Sestina

  1. Pingback: Poetry Contest Winners! |

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