Eilmer of Malmesbury
He had by some means, I scarcely know what, fastened wings to his hands and feet so that, mistaking fable for truth, he might fly like Daedalus, and, collecting the breeze upon the summit of a tower, flew for more than a furlong.
—William of Malmsebury
The votive candles flicker but do not go out
as I sew the fabric of the devout to a skeleton
of pine I’ve hewn from out of service pews, every
thread a tether between design and air, prayer
and machine. For the foreseeable future, I’ve
turned from my star maps that I might craft
a form of ascension I can strap to my back, wings
taut as a crucifix bound in a Book of Hours.
But even the angels have their momento mori,
and the tower’s stones are woven into the same
weightless dream. How long I’ve looked to the skies
for a sign of myself in You and felt You in
the nothing that is everything there. Why do I
hesitate to touch your face? The Brothers grow restless,
suspecting I’m no longer Daedalus, but Penelope
undoing the night’s loom work. They don’t see
the guide wires disconnecting from my thought’s
black box—there’s something faithless in this leap.
Nathan Mader was born and lives in Regina Saskatchewan. His work has appeared in Grain, The Fiddlehead, and Vallum. He has been a finalist for the Walrus Poetry Prize and has an essay forthcoming in The Literary History of Saskatchewan Vol.3 (Coteau, 2017).
To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.
Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!