Pomade by Korey Hurni

How everything turns away quite leisurely from the disaster

~ W.H. Auden


Even from watching his father, Icarus never knew
how much was enough: tin nearly emptied,
hair pomade stiff, waxed
brittle and shining down his nape.
Tattered feather boy, boy
in the mirror, stage on top a stool
for the man he will never become,
his fingers and father’s comb thick with ocean
skim, slicking back every loose
stubborn strand, breaking the breaking
waves curled around his ears.
Careless Icarus wild
with product, swallowing air
like a billowing sail pushing out
his chest, admiring the idea of pecs –
               little boy peacocking
               with no one to watch him –
fearful of staining the towels, smearing grease
and excess all over his body, the body
ready to slip away into viridian…
How easy it is to disregard the boy,
to excuse the boy for dual snapping finger
guns with a high-pitched eyyy.
Like a dawn first set on the horizon, he’ll echo
past the curtains and throughout
the home. When he hears his father above
stir for his shift, the boy can play
man no longer, and will stick his head
under a cold shower. This could be the last time he hopes
no one will hear him. A boy is never too young
to know shame.

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.