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Flash No. 28 – Anna Stolley Persky

Not Thinking About Children Murdered in Texas Today

by Anna Stolley Persky

“Strange coincidence,” I say. “I too have been pondering Icarus.”

I correct myself: “Maybe it’s not a coincidence, but a confluence of interests.”

I do not think about it. I do not think about the nineteen children slaughtered in their Texas elementary school today. 

“That’s a lot of words,” my daughter says. She is listening to the lyrics in Hamilton, when Angelica tells Elizabeth: You married an Icarus, he has flown too close to the sun.

‘So, what’s an Icarus?” my daughter says.

I still do not think about the nineteen children. I do not imagine them sitting in their desks or falling to the floor in pools of blood, their mothers unaware, working or doing their laundry, unknowing, unseeing as their children are gunned down. 

“Icarus was a boy who died,” I say. “It’s one of those Greek myths.”

Icarus, I say, was trying to escape from Crete using wings his father made from feathers and wax. Icarus kept flying higher and higher. The sun melted his wings. Icarus fell from the sky. 

“That’s a pointless death,” my daughter says.

I do not think about the children who left their parents in the morning to board buses that would never bring them home. I do not think about how the press will descend, capture the wailing parents, and then leave a few days later, on to another story, abandoning the families to grieve for years in silence.

I tell my daughter about the poem I just read by W.H. Auden describing a painting in which Icarus, falling to his death, is yet somehow in the background, his drama relegated to an almost indecipherable splash, his white legs disappearing into the green water. I tell her that in both the poem and the painting, life goes on while Icarus falls, always a boy, never allowed to grow into a man.

She shivers. I place my hand over her wrist, feel the dainty bones beneath her skin.

Anna Stolley Persky, a lawyer and award-winning journalist, lives in Northern Virginia. She’s pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University. Her fiction has been published in Mystery Tribune, The Satirist, Bright Flash Literary Review, and The Plentitudes. Her poetry has been published in the Washington Writers’ Publishing House, Sad Girls Club Literary Blog, and The Closed Eye Open. Her creative nonfiction has been published in Pithead Chapel.

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