SPOTLIGHT: ‘Icarus Superstar’ by Hiromi Yoshida

Paper Doll

mouth, red wound,
wombed | un-
wombed woman,
hag witch, itchy twitch
beneath haggard wigs;
she never knew her daughter
would shrink and shrivel
into paper and paraphernalia—
sprout into the gargantuan,
gangrenous, cantankerous
canker sore of her
grimacing mouth; the in-
grown toenail; the stubborn
callus on the heart’s tender
flesh, begging for the
appeasement of hungry
moths that gnaw away at her
daughter’s papered edges; jagged
pink petticoat cut out
with blunt, unwieldy
Plath, the slippery
symptom, remnant
realia, bleached signifier—the desiccated snake gagging on
its endless tail—she slumbers,
smiling and accomplished,
folded into archival boxes, out of the witch mother’s
twitchy reach.


Overburdened caryatids carrying the weight
of BCE centuries—collapse,
and the pantheon of Olympian gods &
goddesses crumble into the Aegean Sea—
together with Icarus—a boiling alphabet soup
beneath the burnished sky, where Helios
smirks alone, shiny bastard lurking beneath
Dystopia’s skirts, making gargoyle faces.


Words erupt from her red,
open mouth like startled doves
cooing garbled songs—

her eyes shedding fish
scales—her fists flinging burning sand. She
is that epithelial vortex,
dogeared page; the smudged
place where misogyny is

Icarus Penis

Floating signifier threatened with castration—
What shiny thing lurks
beneath the sun’s gold skirt?

Icarus, sad penis,
premature ejaculation residue—
Lacanian Phallus shriveled
into a castaway fingernail paring—
drowning in the Aegean Sea
with mermaids exchanging fishtails for
flat feet—scales falling
from burnt eyeballs
too late. Aphrodite

springs upward—
a seafoam column from the green place
where Icarus drowned—


I eat the golden
dust of the sun, as I
slither up the gnarled
Tree of Knowledge;
I eat the prickly
fingers of the shivering
leaves; I eat the crawling
aphids—sticky, green, trans-
lucent seeds embedded in the
rough bark; I eat
the shadows that dapple
the forbidden fruit—I
eat the sweat dripping
from the woman’s
hungry fingertips. Nothing is
forbidden me, but the unnamable
fruit sweating in the
cantankerous sun.

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