“The Fall of Icarus,” oil on panel, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1636.

Tree Surfing

You climbed to the top of the white pine in the
neighbor’s yard, raised your arms as if you were
Icarus without wax on your wings. Atop the tree
you spread out your arms and jumped.

Limbs bending needles flying, cones scattering
along the ground and down you came from seventy
feet above as a surfer on a wave gone bad. Sliding,
bumping, never holding on. When you reached the
bottom you were laughing, climbed back up, raised
your arms in triumph, jumped again.

Some twenty years later lightning struck, split the white
pine down the middle as a knife through soft butter. I
thought of you as they cut up the tree, of your great
triumph, of how years later in a different place you
looped the rope, tied the knot and slipped away.

A Taste of Things to Come

Turkey Vultures roost atop the playhouse, where
humans take in a show, A Taste of Things to Come.
A cleansing breeze caresses the wake as their
bended necks rise, smell of carrion stimulates
olfactory, and as the audience applauds they rise
as a kettle, ride the thermal updraft, float on
currents, spot the freshly dead along River Road
Windy Bush, and the banks of the Delaware.

As the ladies of the 1950s cook and prepare for
Betty Crocker, the Turkey Vultures land on useless
feet, plunge bald heads, powerful beaks into the
cavities of fresh carrion is better than a box cake
coupled with a 50’s dinner. The show is over, they
leave with memories and cookbooks in hand, as
Turkey Vultures roost atop the playhouse, await
the next cleansing breeze, a taste of things to come.


g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. Nine collections of his fiction and poetry have been published. He can be found at gereutter.wordpress.com.