At the trophy bar a minotaur knocks his head into a big-horned buck when he toasts everyone and no one in particular, There are good ships and wood ships…, but trails off into the whole pomp of removing his mask to rub his bruise. Someone not dressed as Cher punches Madness into the jukebox and then everything is trumpets as Icarus flies past the scene, past the woman he’ll ignore all night until he can’t. Through a sea of wine-dark patrons he taps the bar, eyes on the shotski suspended above the bartender.
When he was a boy Icarus always tried to wring the dregs of Coors Light from empties he swiped from his father’s workshop. Right off the ledge of the desk after his father went to bed. He always wondered what his drink of choice would be. What a privilege to choose your own poison—a mark of being your own man—but so many boys take over the family business. But here Icarus doesn’t have to settle for just a taste; he is bottomless in the dulling viridian barroom lights.
The minotaur charges straight for the makeshift stage sectioned off by folding chairs; he’ll be the first to sign up for karaoke. He chooses John Lennon’s “Imagine” but everyone knows he will swap out the lyrics for “All Star.” There’s enough salt heeled into the wounds of the old wooden floor that no one bats an eye at the regulars here.
Eventually Icarus falls into a corner, he always does, and the only hand to help him will be the woman he’s ignored all night. All small talk until she touches his plastic wings; his vision melts like wax. No one pays any mind as she drags Icarus out of the bar. The minotaur soars, And the years start comin’, and they don’t stop comin’…
There has never been father-son language for what happens next. For the harness of his costume confettied into a feathery pulp. If he remembers any of it, he’ll cover it up with Weekend at Bernie’s jokes to anyone old enough to get them, and bite his tongue until his mouth fills with that childhood taste of metal again. But he’ll keep to himself how, when he woke, he never realized just how much the dawn marbles and contours the skyline. How far out he found himself to even see the skyline. How his head felt churned as the turbulent wake of Theseus’ ship. How there’ll never be enough booze for this tattered feather boy, a boy he never wanted to be again.
Korey Hurni was born and raised in Lansing, MI, and earned his MFA at Western Michigan University, where he served as a poetry editor for Third Coast. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and serves as a poetry editor for Cream City Review.