“My Country Is Winter,” a Playlist
so the pipes froze
Suck that air into your lungs. It makes you feel alive, maybe because you’re closer to death. The tip of the cigarette freezes between drags. Wait, are eyelids supposed to crunch? Inside, it’s a new world. One blonde ale, please. A loud couple has been drinking Hot Toddy’s since noon. Can’t blame ‘em. “What else are you going to do but party?” he says. She laughs. He might be charming. Or maybe he’s just a musician. It’s -40. That’s the same temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Nothing makes sense. An old man with shaggy hair and a long beard eats a cheeseburger. Mustard squirts onto his hands. His green sweater looks itchy, but warm. You notice anything that looks warm. His wife has gray hair and wears a striped black and gray sweater. It also looks warm. She eats a pile of cheesy potatoes. They drink glasses full of red wine. Weird combo. Elsewhere, there’s flannel. Lots and lots of flannel. Cool haircuts. Cool jackets. Some puffers arrive. The North Face! Smile like you mean it. Knit hats hang over there, on a sign that says Duluth. Twinkle lights behind the bar. Other lights outside the bar. “Charlotte’s Thong” plays quietly on the speakers. You sing along. Dah, dah, dah dah dah… The phone rings. Hey Mom. Nice day. Cold everywhere? Yup. More snow tomorrow. Blue skies now. A foggy window. A cold window. Another couple scarfs down cheese. Ski goggles on the street. Who needs a stroller when you can pull your kid on a sled? Nostalgia strikes! What are you missing today? Read some David Berman lyrics. Think a little bit. Remember some more. Stare at brick floors. Candles lit on each table. A wall of old photographs. A puppet devil hangs from the ceiling. He looks friendly. He always looks friendly, though. The matriarch smiles from beyond the grave. So this is it, I suppose.