How to Keep Warm in an Avalanche
To be buried while I’m still alive? One of my greatest fears—
tons of snow muffling my screams and freezing all my tears.
If I knew rescue was coming and had sufficient air,
how would I keep from panicking in this wintry lair?
Perhaps I’d think of old loves, from sixth grade up to now.
Every silent signal. Every declared vow.
The first boy who “chose” me—the pleasure that was new
of knowing I’d been noticed by a boy or two.
Unsure and not quite ready, those crushes quickly passed
as they moved on to other girls that I considered fast.
I lived up to the adage “sweet sixteen and never been kissed”
and started to be sorry for what I knew I’d missed.
By seventeen, I found out and luckily my first
was all that I had hoped for—like slaking a long thirst.
I remember all of that initial long embrace.
His heartbeat next to mine, his fingers on my face.
The dizziness, the giddiness. I couldn’t walk quite straight.
All that was wrong with that first kiss was that it came too late.
Though there have been other lovers, I must admit to this.
Never did another compete with that first kiss.
Then I’d think back to others, up to the present day,
making mental lists and then remembering what I may.
Cowboy, lawyer, carpenter, railroad man and teacher,
but no accountant, coach or doctor, bank robber or preacher.
Bartenders, salesmen, bass players and once a Green Bay Packer
would join this list of loves, but ne’er a lazy man or slacker.
I’d think and think, remembering names without the written word.
A tourist guide, two salesmen and a computer nerd.
And after a long night of this, kept warm by memories,
they’d find me curled up in a ball, my arms around my knees,
covered in a blanket of fine-sifted powdery snow,
caught fast in dreams of those who kept me warm so long ago.
(Yes, a reprint from almost exactly a year ago, but there is stuffing to make and a turkey to bake so give me a break for Thanksgiving’s sake!)