Snow day

We gather near noon
In Nathan’s side yard, by the duck shed
A snow covered hallucination
The pine trees next door droop, heavy
It’s wet
The air burns
My feet sting already

We wonder where Jim is
But he’s probably doing something for his dad
He’s got a strict family

A quorum collected
we depart

A trudge

A mud slushed march
Across the field
Down into the frozen run off
We call it the creek and the pond
The farmer calls it drainage
We’re going deeper in than we do in the summer

We stop in a tree shrouded clearing
This is passed the big culvert
The creek gets really wide here
Snow shrinks the world
All of everything is in these 10 feet
We are miles from home

My lungs burn
Sound stops short
Muffled

We’ve brought equipment
Catchers mitts
A 9-volt battery rolled thick with duct tape
This is going to be hockey day

No one has played hockey before

Play clothes
Worn sneakers
Plastic grocery bags wrapped over our feet
I’m wearing my brother’s old brown coveralls
He’s wearing the new gray pair, they’re way bigger
My toes are bursting, frozen
Aching

This feels like someone else’s property
We’re uncomfortably close to the white house around the way
We don’t know who lives there
But we’re utterly alone

Somehow the older boys actually have sticks
The rest of us struggle with plastic bats
You can take a few bold quickening steps
And launch into a slide
Ice is a peculiar dehydrated exhaustion

Breath billows out of your mouth
Frosts and freezes on your scarf
I’m soaked through and freezing

Joy

Salted drips
From your nostrils
Taste better than you’d think

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.