It is one of those sultry July days
when the sky unzips, her water breaks,
and the streets steam like clams in a hot pot.
In the glare of freshly bathed sun,
my neighbors play half-naked
in their sprinklers and the mail carrier
wears a personal fan on the brim
of her official USPS hat. I leave my house
in full winter gear, my goggles fogged
in the day’s humidity. The park is near,
just a few glides away, and I propel
myself down the grassy slope,
ski pole clenched in each gloved fist.
Joggers and picnickers stare and
snicker, but I pull my red knit
beanie over my ears, sensing nothing
but mountain, where the snow shimmers
and the air is so brisk and bracing
it hurts to breathe. I race down the first
hill carving massive turns, rooster tail
pluming in my wake. Gravity’s got nothing
on me— no weight of opinion to slow
the slalom, no drag on my treasured time.
I rip through moguls like I’m whitewater
rafting, hesitation banished to a far away
island, defiance worn like fuck-me pumps.
I head to the backcountry, to mile-long runs
weaving between pines, freeriding
through fresh powder. I stop, take a sip
from the flask, close my eyes, catch my breath.
It’s winter if I say it is.
Published in Shooter Literary Magazine, Summer 2021