Hard Frost

By Yelizaveta Renfro

January 10, 2022

Hard Frost

On the morning of the day the jury would return, snow swirled with fallen white blossoms in the gutters of the streets. April can be cruel like that. The next day, as I drove, all over town I saw plants that had been protected from the hard frost with sheeting and tarps, and the covered shapes seemed to shift before my eyes—or rather, my mind contorted them—until they took on the outlines of human bodies—as though, after the guilty verdict, in the night, we had all dragged out our collected corpses, the unjustly dead, and left them in our yards, under bedsheets, to say: And what about this one? And this one? And who will find justice for this one? Don’t ask me what verdict, who died, who was held accountable. Too many have died, too few convicted. I am not writing this for the people of today; this morning’s headlines will not matter for my audience. People of the future, I want to say to you that I hope spring petals and snow flurries still tumble in the streets for you, that there is still this occasional mismatch of seasons, but without dread; that you still cover your darling plants to protect them from frost, and that you have no reason, when you see them, to think of the unjustly dead, of bodies under shrouds. I hope your minds do not impose such images over the simple splendor of the tender living world.


Yelizaveta Renfro is the author of a collection of essays, Xylotheque, and a collection of short stories, A Catalogue of Everything in the World. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, North American Review, Creative Nonfiction, Orion, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Witness, Reader’s Digest, and elsewhere. 


Picture by Dmitry Grigoriev courtesy of Unsplash

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