Icarus flies. A mermaid lifts her song heavenward and bewitches him. Icarus asks the sun to free him from his shackles of waxed feathers. He falls down. Now he lives free at the bottom of the sea with his love, his winged mermaid.
Daedalus feels jealous of his son Icarus. He has no mermaid to lull him in the midst of a warm salt stream. He makes himself a wax woman and puts wings on her. “Don’t get too close to the sun when you fly, my angel,” he tells her. She flashes a waxy smile and arises in the air at midnight. But she disobeys Daedalus and melts into dawn. Daedalus cries green feathers over losing his family. He goes down to the sea to hunt mermaids with a silver net.
Daedalus builds a time machine. He goes back to the morning when he’d begin gluing Icarus’s wings. Instead, he locks him up in a labyrinth to keep him from escaping, flying away, and falling into the sea. Icarus begs to see the sun. Daedalus ignores his son’s pleas and devotes himself to roasting fish for lunch.
- Kitsch Icarus
Icarus’s mermaid wife gives birth to a boy “exactly one year after their marriage.” Sharks’ court has accused Icarus of devouring his own son. He denies everything, confused. The mermaid arrives dragging a figure in chains. “It’s not him. He didn’t eat our son,” she sounds angry. The chained figure looks up. It’s Daedalus. He’s the one who had his own grandson for lunch. “He tasted like fish,” he manages to utter before he’s decapitated.
- Inflatable Doll
Daedalus makes himself a woman out of wax and feathers. He doesn’t give her wings, only a hole in her crotch. At night, when he can no longer bear the loneliness, he jerks off in the midst of feathers and caresses of wax. Daedalus’s panting reaches the bottom of the sea, where Icarus sheds tears for his father’s solitude. The mermaid sings a useless song of consolation, which reaches no one’s ears.
Born in Puebla in 1974, Libia Brenda has lived in Mexico City since 2001. Her work has appeared in numerous venues, including L’altra Penelope, Scrivere Donna, Especial Philip K. Dick, Así se acaba el mundo: cuentos mexicanos apocalípticos, and Futuros por cruzar: cuentos de ciencia ficción de la frontera México-Estados Unidos. You can find her on Twitter: @tuitlibiesco
Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His translations of Latin American literature include My Father Thinks I’m a Fakir by Claudia Apablaza, South Exit by Carlos Bortoni, and Silent Herons by Selfa Chew.