The End of Winter
by Adrian Slonaker
In the early eighties
when we still believed in the coming Ice Age
as much as we trusted in Pac-Man’s ghostkilling capabilities,
frigid Great Lakes winters were the norm,
with Himalayas of snow sloping onto
sinister ice patches where you could
slip and split your Jordaches,
if not your head.
Plunging wind chills be damned,
recess was still held outside
while our unseen teacher likely cradled
a much-needed cigarette
between mittened fingers.
One Thursday afternoon,
between king-of-the-mountain challenges,
invited me to follow her
past the shivering Jennifers exhaling
hopscotch hymns through
and under obscenely naked maples
to an outdoor crawlspace
between the scratchy red brick of
the weatherbeaten school façade and
a big khaki-colored mechanical thinggummy
that radiated heat.
Here in this gap
was the world’s smallest microclimate,
with thaw rather than Thule,
and pointing to the preposterous purple flowers
among tenacious tufts of grass,
Traci concluded, “it’s spring here.”
I don’t remember whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow that year,
but I was convinced I knew
where the seasons changed.
Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Adrian’s work has appeared in Aberration Labyrinth, Squawk Back, The Bohemyth, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Pangolin Review and others.