You’d think we all gave our lives to be here-
retired early in a condo on the beach
after decades of shoveling horrible snows,
the way we carry on.
We trump out our fanciest pea coats
for three weeks of December discomfort,
grumbling and wiping the dust off
the red part of the thermostat.
But most of us don’t know it, never got
the heart-thrill of thawing something frozen,
never suffered through the negatives
to earn that blessed warmth.
But I have had my fill of swimming pools,
tans I have no use for, ugly flip-flops,
because I know there is no sweat
like the sweat under fleece-
the maddening contradiction of fear and joy
that accompanies a blizzard, wondering whether
we’ll wake alive or dead
in the morning.