Winter here is no incidental thing, but compared to a Minnesota winter, it’s not exactly burdensome. It strikes the right balance for me; I’m not up to there in snow for 6 months, but the seasons change, and it does snow a little. When I told them in the pub that my hometown averages 50 inches of snow a winter, and I went back to live there voluntarily, I didn’t pay for another drink all night.
The clipping in the poem is real; I still have it somewhere. Part of its ongoing guarantee of a smile for me is that I know exactly how it came to see print; I was a journalism major for two years, so the laughs are at least a little sympathetic.
A winter that by my lights never arrived
Has returned, a confectioner’s siftings on
Gray mud, threatening as a meringue, gone
By noon. You’ll regret it, they said further
South — your first Inverness December will
Scour flesh from bone. But in April I still
Consider it to not have really snowed.
Someone in the pub asks how much passes muster
And I can’t do more than hold my flat hand hip-high
And say a shitload, like the cutline under the
Newspaper photograph I kept tacked to a corkboard
In my college dorm room to remind me of the purpose of
Proofing, to prod me to one final re-read before I turned in
My work, to help me define enough.
(photo: National Weather Service)