Companion

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June 20, 2021 by The Citron Review

by Jennifer Ronsman

 

It was 2:30 am in the summer of pandemic nightmares when I saw you from the window, framed in the blinding backyard light. Your antlers, brave and reaching, the thick rectangle of your torso, the gentle bend of your neck. Your steaming nostrils sniffing the soil. For a minute we spoke a wordless conversation about being lost in an empty world.

I wanted to tell you about the double rainbow a few hours earlier, did you see it? We woke up Zoey and carried her to the wet driveway and we all looked up and named the colors one by one. Our neighbors were on their porches and the air smelled like rain and for a minute we shared the world with each other again. Did you see the rainbow? Did you smell the rain?

But you turned away before I could tell you, and in a matter of footsteps you were behind the shed and away from my sight. Seconds later, the light fell silent. Sleep came easier then, as I imagined the music of distant hooves on a path that might someday bring you back.

Some things leave big tracks: the last choking gasp of someone you love, images of smoke pushing heavenward after a night of riots, the weight of so many months in a deep well of loneliness and panic as the world turns unrecognizable. Other things tread lightly across our landscape, single moments of brilliant refuge that quickly vanish into a world we cannot see.

 

Jennifer Ronsman lives and works in her hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where she teaches English Composition at UW Green Bay. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her writing has appeared in The Louisville Review, Arts and Letters, Literary Mama, and Calyx. She also enjoys writing about the local food scene for regional publications and creating stories with her six-year-old daughter, Zoey.

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Backyard Mosquito Hawk by Charlotte Hamrick, 2017.

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