Now that it’s July, and temperatures are in the nineties and triple digits, it’s time to think cool thoughts, really cool thoughts. The following poem was just published in the 2012 issue of Emerging Voices, a literary journal produced by Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.
Five Ways of Looking at Cold
At a quarter to nine in the morning, it’s seventeen below.
Waiting for a ride, I stand inside the kitchen door.
The sun shimmers on the storm door’s frosted glass.
I rub with gloved hand
but don’t even make a dent in the frost.
I hear the car pull into the driveway—
its tires crunch on the frozen snow.
I don’t have the heat on yet,” she says when I get in the car.
“It needs to warm up first.”
I’m not complaining–
walking the half mile to the YMCA
would be a lot worse.
When we arrive, I feel like a popsicle.
In the locker room, my nose runs.
The water exercise class is in progress when I get in the pool.
“North to Alaska” plays on the stereo.
Why would I want to go there? I’m cold enough–
but as the water’s warmth surrounds me,
I move across the pool–
my mind unfreezes, opens to a world of possibilities.
Driving home isn’t so bad.
The car has absorbed the winter sun’s warmth
after sitting in the parking lot for over an hour.
When I get home, the temperature is four degrees above zero.
The groundhog did not see his shadow today–
there will be an early spring.
We’ve never had one of those in Wyoming.
In the late afternoon, the temperature has risen to twelve above—
it feels like twelve below.
Where’s our early spring?
What do you remember about cold weather? To keep warm, did you chop wood and dump it in the fireplace, shovel more coal in the furnace, snuggle with the one you love by the fire? Have you ever seen a groundhog? Please share your memories below. If you have terouble with the comment form, you can e-mail me at the address above.