I forgot about feet inside bread bags
stuck in boots sunk in snow;
pants underneath plaid skirts
stripped to the hiss
of the classroom radiator;
later, leg warmers above duck shoes;
walking in ruts on the road—
a scarf around my mouth
couldn’t keep the wheeze from my lungs
(and Mom, in denial, offering only cough syrup)
—until the four inches down here
termed a “blizzard”
but nothing like the hurricane of flakes
that made power lines sway in ‘78.
I forgot about pumping brakes
to obey the light
until this northern girl’s advice
rescued the pick-up truck stuck
on twice frozen ice
outside my window.
I told my son to stand back
in case the guy fishtailed—
expertise long dormant
inside a memory of home,
where I’d never go again.
Karen Pickell grew up on the west side of Cleveland, where she learned to skate over sidewalk cracks with metal wheels strapped to her shoes. These days she lives near Atlanta, Georgia, where she serves as an assistant editor of Flycatcher: A Journal of Native Imagination and studies creative writing in the Master of Arts in Professional Writing program at Kennesaw State University. Her work has appeared in Bluestem, Poets on Adoption, and the charity anthology Oil and Water . . . and Other Things That Don’t Mix.