Updated: Jan 30, 2019
In the summer,
sweating in the air conditioned Toyota, I ask
Who turned on my seat warmer?
But it’s never on. Just my body
adjusting to fifty.
Today, it’s cold enough outside to hold the Starbucks cup
without a cardboard sleeve.
Let the burn penetrate hand, and travel
to the legs that push
through unplowed parking lot.
My legs skirt
and zigzag around
the dance of salted cars parked helter skelter
in a lot where snow has erased
the yellow lines.
Memory appears like fruit flies in the kitchen. There
in front of your face. Clap your hands. Look
in the palms.
What the hell did I come out here for?
I get in the seat heated Toyota, start it up, back up,
go. With coffee. Without my list.
Forget my list,
forget my husband’s birthdate while filling out a form,
leave my Visa card
on the sticky table at the Hungry Tummy Restaurant.
Yet, remember what Mr. Peterson said in eighth grade biology
to us Minnesota girls.
The body, he said, adapts.
In winter our thighs will collect fat cells
to protect us from the cold.
I drive slow through the snow, note
the same old streets that get plowed.
The ones that don’t.
Apparently, in eighth grade,
Nicole Gillete’s Pom Pom thighs
had a higher threshhold than my own
to the cold. Hers
remained smooth and thin like a plastic Barbie doll’s legs.
Winter wakes up the mind.
Snow drifts that curl like waves
between the garage
and the house next door
bring you back.
Memory shapes memories
the way you want them.
I have no idea
what I left the house for, but here is the Denim Depot.
The uncomfortable way I’m forced to sit up straight
in order to breathe in these jeans
gives me reason to pull in
to this finely plowed lot.
It is time to call my Fat Jeans:
Cowgirl up. Go up a size.
Teen age girls tip toe cautiously
in suede boots over the neatly
piled snow in front of the Depot entrance.
Butter cream frosting lining the sidewalk.
The perfect edges on a Sweet Sixteen birthday cake.
I plow by in rubber and nylon.
Open the door first.
I drive home, the last inch
of hot coffee gone frappuccino.
The plastic Denim Depot bag
stiff with negative wind-chilled air.
The garage door clunks open.
Steam from car exhaust hits frigid air and
fills the garage like a biology experiment
in Mr. Peterson’s class.
I go to turn the key and see the E.
Gas. I left the house for gas.
January 7, 2019