June 22, 2022 by The Citron Review
by Doug Ramspeck
I saw my father for the first and only time in Jackson, Mississippi, after a long ride in my mother’s car. And though I do not believe in ghosts, there was a girl I kissed once in falling snow in the woods behind her house, a girl I had known since third grade. And a few weeks ago, I was sitting in my office when a man with dark hair and wearing a blue windbreaker fell tumbling past the window. And when I stood before my father at the Viewing, I pretended he knew that I was there. And snow fell like confetti when the girl and I were kissing—though I had teased her cruelly in third grade for throwing up on the school bus—and the crows oared above us and said caw caw caw. And the man’s windbreaker flapped its desperate sail. And my father studied me with closed eyes. And there was a moment as the man went by the window that I believed he could see me through the glass and over the top of my computer. And I wanted to speak to him in a voice stripped down to something elemental, wanted to say something he might carry with him to the pavement. And it was six years after the kiss when I heard that the girl I’d known for most of my life had taken her own in Nashville, Tennessee. And because I didn’t know what to say, I simply watched the man fall. And only later did I realize what I might have said: caw caw caw.
Doug Ramspeck is the author of nine collections of poetry, one collection of short stories, and a novella. Individual stories have appeared in journals that include Iowa Review, The Southern Review, and The Georgia Review His short story “Balloon” was listed as a Distinguished Story in The Best American Short Stories. His brief story, “Snow Crow,” received First Place in the Bath Flash Fiction Award. His author website can be found at dougramspeck.com.