Mercury and Icarus by James Walton

Mercury and Icarus

 

In my early teens

my next door neighbour

was conscripted

after he turned eighteen

he came back from Vietnam

with a hole in his leg above his knee

it had its uses

a pencil could be passed through it

or a safe view of the occasional eclipse

would be offered to the initiated

he deputised for his mother

delivering the mail on her PMG bike

following the milk and bread deliveries

we played in the same team

his nickname was ‘Fly’

there were soft Winter afternoons

when warm light off the windscreens

crossed the boundary lines

refracting to appear as dance

when he ran towards goal

his boots ascending as he kicked

the backline distracted in a shedding aurora

of a lens in soft muscle

on a Saturday when it still rained

he suddenly pushed an umpire to the ground

threw the ball into the standing watchers

walked away with his studs flinging mud

out of earth cold as old wax

he sent a postcard from Crete

BIO

James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. His poetry collections include ‘The Leviathan’s Apprentice’ 2015 Publish and Print U.K., ‘Walking Through Fences’ 2018 ASM & Cerberus Press, ‘Unstill Mosaics’ Busybird 2019, and ‘Abandoned Soliloquies’ Uncollected Press 2019.