The Day I Learned To Fly

The Day I Learned To Fly

The Day I Learned To Fly 150 150 Diana Meakem
When I wrote about soaring,
you left two words in response:

“Remember Icarus.”

(A friendly warning from your local pastor:
Don’t let freedom go to your head. You’ll burn
in hell. Never mind you’re searching for Heaven.)

At first, I was silent. Then I thought I’d cry.
Then, quietly, your words fueling my passion,
fire red as poppies flamed within me.

A week later, your two words on my mind,
I happened to go see Matisse. His bright cutouts
were like sticky notes, secret messages to me.
One especially struck me; I froze in front of it,
staring. (At the time I didn’t realize the irony.)

Yellow stars in a blue universe. And, oh—
he isn’t falling at all. His arms are stretched
out, embracing the world, his body black
but for a pomegranate seed heart.

In Matisse’s vision, Icarus is flying—
burned, perhaps, by beauty, but—
don’t you see?—he’s touching Heaven
I bought a postcard of Icarus and stuck
it to my wall in protest. I didn’t mean
to listen, to obey, but maybe I did.

I’m remembering Icarus.

Diana Meakem

My work has been published online at,, and’s all stuff you could read on my resume, though. I love traveling, music, and working with children. My favorite color is blue, and I would always, always choose the sea. If I could, I would spend all day outside staring at the sky with a cup of coffee and a novel at arm’s length. I might even let you come with me.

All posts by Diana Meakem