Landscape With the Fall of Icarus
The body had been in the shallow water at the base of the culvert for a while. A splash had signalled its arrival.
A truck driver saw something shapeless through the weeds as he sped along, but he couldn’t say for sure what it was, and he wouldn’t be travelling that route again for another month at least. He had deliveries to make, so he’d just shrugged to himself and hadn’t given it a second thought—he could always stop and take a closer look next time. He quite likely might have, but in the interim, his mother called to say his dad was sick with cancer and wouldn’t last long. He and his father had never been close but the least he could do was try and get there in time to hold the old man’s hand while he died.
A woman in a sports car noticed a wing-tipped leather loafer peeking through the grass as she passed, but people were always tossing garbage out their car windows. If you’d asked her if she didn’t think it was strange that someone would throw away such an expensive shoe, she might have told you, rather dramatically, that she once pulled a ring off her finger and dropped it over the side of a cruise ship after she caught her fiancé with one of the on-board entertainers. She wouldn’t tell you that it was a male dancer—she hadn’t even told her best friend that.
It might have occurred to the young couple in the SUV that it was odd to see a fairly new briefcase caught up in the scrubby bushes that lined the ditch by the culvert as if it had fallen from the sky, but they were both equally distracted: her, because they were going to be late to her parents’ house for dinner and him, because he didn’t want to go in the first place. When she announced excitedly that her sisters were going to be there, he sighed inwardly, turning to look at her with a mixture of adoration and irritation, just as they drove by.
Of all the people who might have thought to stop and investigate why a kettle of vultures was persistently circling above a particular stretch of this well-travelled road, you’d think it would have been the highway patrol officer who was designated to guard it. But vultures weren’t unusual at this time of year, especially with the uptick in roadkill that he’d been noticing lately. He wasn’t a fan of raccoons but still, it was sad the way they lay there all stiff with their tiny paws reaching up towards the heavens in futility.
Once the weeds start to die under autumn’s frost, you might be able to discern a pale hand gripping a burdock leaf (or is it a feather, still dripping with melted wax?) if you aren’t going too fast, but no one ever slows down if they can help it. We all have our own places to be, don’t we?
Suzanne Craig-Whytock is a Canadian novelist published by Bookland Press. Her shorter pieces of writing have been featured in Slippage Lit, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Women Writers, Women('s) Books, Spillwords Press, The Sirens Call, and Elephants Never. She was recently nominated for Publication of the Year (non-poetic) by Spillwords Press.
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