It snowed on Easter.


I cracked the door open just enough to let the dog slip through. She was out like a shot and off into the woods, nose down, following the fresh tracks of a rabbit.

My first thought was, Run, Easter Bunny!

My second thought, Up yours, Winter!

Seriously, Winter, get the hell outta here. I know, you were hardly around this year and I even missed you back in January when there was no snow covering to reflect the moon and stars. Would have been nice, but you missed your chance. It’s April now and it gets old listening to you bellow and bluster like a Libertarian on a rant every year, stretching out that pomegranate debt like that was the last fruit on earth.

Go! Can’t you see all these pussy willows, half emerged and scowling at you? You’re now that guy at the party who smells weird in a stained shirt trying to get me to read your screenplay and all I’m trying to do is get a refill at the champagne fountain. I want to laugh and have fun and watch the bubbles sparkle in the light of spring and you’re in my face with “they’re all zombies, wrapped in rags, stumbling around hiding from the sun and Shia LeBeouf.”

I wouldn’t watch that with your eyes, Winter.

Even though the snow melted pretty much that same day it came, Winter is still fucking with us. Personally, I think it’s personal. And I have no problem personifying Winter, especially since I’ve had to watch him throw this little baby fit every year for the last 40+ years. Dude. Quit leaning against my house, you’re making the walls shake. 

Here’s a poem from my book The Bandsaw Riots, because this isn’t the first time Winter has been on my absolute I’m warning you very last nerve.


We broke morning shift

in time to see Winter

in his white coat stumble

and lose his grip

on the box of frozen sky

he’d been packing on his shoulder.

We saw it go off-balance

and tumble to the ground

where it split open into

a seam of light and sunheat

that wrecked the day

for any kind of cruelty.

The wind he’d honed

all season against the steel

is so dull it won’t

even break the skin.

He’s been at it too long,

the drudgery of cutting each flake

into myriad forms,

the skilled monotony of creation,

and speculates on a new line

of work. A lot of us talk

about moving on, even

Winter hates his job.

But he’s hard to predict

and for the time being

resets his white cap and turns

back to the same ol’. The cold

is a heavy load and all he has

to show is a sore back

from hauling each day

in and out of the freezer,

varicosed legs from standing

long hours on concrete ice.

The next time we see Winter

it’s at shift’s-end, leaning

against a dirty wall

in the back room of the horizon,

a bad gloom in his eye.

The Bandsaw Riots, by Arlitia Jones, winner of the 2001 Dorothy Brunsmen Poetry Prize from Bear Star Press.

The Bandsaw Riots, by Arlitia Jones, winner of the 2001 Dorothy Brunsmen Poetry Prize from Bear Star Press.

I gotta get outta here, he says.

His lugger is filthy.

He gets to the door

before he remembers

to take it off and wad it

into the laundry bag–

he ain’t foolin’ anyone–

so on his next shift

it’ll come back white again,

starched and clean.

-Arlitia Jones, from The Bandsaw Riots

copyright 2001, Bear Star Press, Cohasset, CA

We're done here, Winter.

We’re done here, Winter.

One Comment on “Winter of Discontent

  1. Arlitia, I am “with” you on this. In Fairbanks, the days are lengthening and the sun is poking holes in the street ice and all our cars are rocking and rolling in them. Time for some spring flowers and baby birds. Thanks for this reminder. XO Anne


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