Deer Crossing by Kristinha M. Anding

I swear you paused at the edge of the road and looked me in the eye before you chose to step out.

Car brakes slamming the dull thud of contact between metal and body 40 miles an hour but it was a curve so maybe we had slowed Renee said it could have been worse but I heard the curdled scream of realization begging from her throat my own wail lifting to meet hers in a long soprano stream making me think of how I screamed when my first son was born but I was trying to leave now through this lament to the night sky wanting nothing more than to escape that thick skid that dragging dragging of dust and blood and bone.

Stopped then in the silence struggling to grasp my phone are you looking for light she asked and I said yes wondering why the contents of my bag were suddenly everywhere my possessions looking alien but I held then the phone she said was mine in its cracked cover and ran out into the night knowing nothing except that I must find you if only to say the prayers if only to hold you as you died if only it would mean something.

I stumbled through the orchard pressing my frail light against the darkness making out apples and insistent sage between the rows peering down scanning for the glint of eyes that might still be staring a body rising and falling with breath searching for you but you had disappeared leaving only a few hairs against the grill a blemish of dirt marring the bumper an awkward dangling of plastic beneath the frame but how could you have just run off and left us here so desperate to find you?

It doesn’t make sense Renee and I said barely meeting one another’s eyes and the couple behind us stopped now asking if we needed help telling us they had seen you too without them I wouldn’t have known this was real their witness the only thing keeping me from believing you had been a ghost at the edge of the road staring me in the eye before choosing collision teaching me something I have barely begun to hear leaving me holding nothing and everything.

Kristinha M. Anding is a writer, mother and former journalist who is particularly interested in the intersections between human experience and what cultural ecologist David Abram terms the “more-than-human world.” A graduate of the Literary Studies program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, she currently finds home in the suburban wilds of Southern California.